29 June 2016

Works begins on new academy in Weston-super-Mare


Midas Construction has begun work on Weston College’s new law and professional services academy in Weston-super-Mare, with a strong focus on providing training and apprenticeship opportunities during the build.

Teams from the Wessex division of Midas Construction, one of the largest independent construction firms in the South West, have started enabling work and asbestos clearance on the Winter Gardens site as part of the initial stages of the redevelopment and modernisation of the building

The original 1920s pavilion and associated areas will be refurbished and enhanced to ensure improved community use in the future. The rear 1980s extension will be redeveloped, and will provide Weston College with a state of the art facility from which it will deliver a range of new courses to meet the demands of the legal, professional services and financial sector in the West of England.

The development is being made possible thanks to multi-million pound funding from the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, and will be housed within the new facility and former Arosfa Hotel as part of Weston College’s plan to create a ‘learning village’ model in Weston-super-Mare.

Kevin Curtis, project manager for Midas Construction, said: “We are on site now conducting the preliminary works. The site offices are in place and the team is doing the pre-construction surveys and site investigations. We’re looking forward to starting the main ground works in the middle of July.”

Derek Quinn, executive director at Midas Construction, said: “We are delighted to be on site at the famous Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare. There is a real focus on delivering local training and apprenticeship opportunities for young people in the Weston area during this scheme, which is one of the Southern Construction Frameworks key objectives.

“During the course of this build we will have a huge amount of activity going on to support the development of skills in the local community and to deliver work experience opportunities. For example, we will be supporting 11 work placements, 11 NVQ starts or completions with our local subcontractors, and a number of training schemes, school tours and group visits.”

Midas project managers Kevin Curtis and John Sharman have completed  a number of  projects for Weston College and previously worked closely with the college to facilitate regular visits by student groups to tour live building sites and witness key construction processes in action, which has been especially useful for the college’s construction and engineering students.

The Academy is the largest project that Midas Construction has delivered for Weston College in recent years, previously creating its Engineering Centre on the South West Skills Campus development, which was shortlisted for the Best Educational Building award at the Building Excellence Awards last year.

Dr Paul Phillips OBE, Principal and Chief Executive of Weston College, said: "Our aim is to bring something to Weston that will aid regeneration and see a growth in learners.

“We were approached by legal companies who wanted to establish a law and professional services academy in the area. This facility will meet the demands of local employers, and continue to raise Weston-super-Mare's reputation nationally as a centre of excellence for education and training."

Stay up to date on the College development on the Winter Gardens’ new Facebook page: www.facebook.com/WestonWinterGardens


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