THE FUTURE of a popular town training academy and several local businesses has been secured after council chiefs secured a rescue deal with a major engineering firm.
Rotec has agreed a deal with Wychavon District Council to take on the lease of the former Evesham Leisure Centre to create a new training centre for advanced manufacturing, adding fabrication, design and engineering.
The firm has stepped in following the collapse of the Johnson Vellen Centre of Excellence (JVCE) which was set up in June 2013 at the site on Davies Road.
It provided training to young people in the automotive body and repair industry but was forced to close its doors in July in a move which threatened the future of a number of popular local firms which are also based at the site.
But now all of the small businesses which were operating out of the site have been given a new lease of life.
Rotec aim to deliver training which is closely linked to real industry and to bridge the gap between traditional education and industrial sectors.
The centre will be run by a Community Interest Company called META (Manufacturing Engineering Technology Academy) and will encompass the successful Rotec Engineering Academy which operates in partnership with South Worcestershire College.
About 100 students a year will use the centre as well as apprentices.
Wychavon District Council will continue to support refurbishment costs, which will see the building become a leading venue in the district and Worcestershire as a whole.
Paul Howard, Divisional Director for Rotec Engineering Ltd, said: “We are delighted to be able to play our part in saving this building which has and now will continue to offer the community a valuable service.
“META is an exciting collaborative approach to training young people with engineering and manufacturing skills, one where students have exposure to real commercial businesses allowing them to see the skills they are developing being used, and adopt the additional employment skills that will allow them to add value quickly to the organisations that they join in the future.
“I would encourage any local business who is looking to take on apprentices to make contact with us on 01386 574051 to explore how we can help them.”
Coun Richard Morris, responsible for economy and housing on Wychavon District Council, said: “I’m delighted we’ve not only been able to secure a deal to create a new training centre to help provide the future workforce our businesses need to expand but also to allow companies trading from the site to continue to do so.
“We know a shortage of skills is one of the key barriers employers face in growing their business and we’re committed to doing all we can to help solve that,” he added.