Construction has begun on Bridgend College’s state-of-the-art STEAM Academy, built as an addition to its Pencoed campus.
A ‘breaking of the ground’ ceremony held on the site was attended by Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education alongside Assembly Members, Councillors, Bridgend College Governors and various stakeholders from the local and wider community.
Partly funded by the Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools and Education Programme, the project aims to transform the learning experience of learners, ensuring they are taught in classrooms with the technologies and facilities needed to deliver a 21st Century curriculum.
The Academy will be more than just an educational establishment, offering many benefits to the local community. These include evening and weekend adult learning as well as café facilities for public use. A multi-purpose lecture hall and conference facilities will be available for hire in a bid to support businesses in the local and wider community.
The campus at Pencoed is home to the College’s land-based curriculum which includes horticulture, agriculture and countryside, equine and animal care departments. With unique facilities such as conservation areas, a purpose-built equine centre and greenhouses, it’s imperative to maintain the use of these areas and the ‘green’ feel of the campus.
As the first College in Wales to sign the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Accord, Bridgend College has developed a sustainable development strategy which aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals and has committed to further substantial progress in the decarbonisation of its activities.
The College which was judged as ‘double excellent’ in its most recent Estyn inspection and ranked 28 in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For, sees this as an exciting development for not only the College itself but for Bridgend and the region.
Ogmore Assembly Member Huw Irranca-Davies who attended the event said: “It was a pleasure to join the Education Minister and friends of Bridgend College at the start of work on the new STEAM project. With the support of Welsh Government’s funding from the ‘21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme’, this shows huge ambition for our local students. Well done everyone. Very exciting times!”.
Minister for Education, Kirsty Williams said: “I was delighted to attend the start of construction at the brand-new STEAM Academy at Bridgend College. This project has received just under £20 million in support through our 21st Century schools programme – we want to ensure learners have access to a range of courses and facilities which meet their needs and this facility will help to support this. The further education sector is crucial to our capacity to deliver our commitments and I look forward to the project’s successful completion.”