Westleigh Vocational Academy Opens for Pupils

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A brand new vocational centre which will provide further educational opportunities for hundreds of local youngsters has officially opened in Leicestershire.

The £400,000 state-of-the-art and environmentally sound facility at Countesthorpe Community College will provide space for 125 students to learn bricklaying, hairdressing, beauty therapy, joinery, IT and vehicle maintenance. This number is expected to rise to 230 students within two years and there will also be the possibility of evening adult learning classes taking place. Five new tutors have also been employed.

Built in partnership between the College and leading regional property developer Westleigh Developments, the 3,800 sq ft, single storey building, named the Westleigh Vocational Academy, houses five workshops and one theory classroom, each able to cater for up to 14 students at a time.

Margaret Allen, East Midlands Director of the Homes and Communities Agency, said: “It is a fantastic example of how housing providers, educational facilities and local authorities are coming together to address the skills agenda, which in this case is resulting in a first class training facility for local people.”

Brian Myatt, Principal at Countesthorpe Community College, said: “We are delighted to open our new vocational academy, a fantastic purpose built facility which will benefit the whole community.

"The Westleigh Vocational Academy offers outstanding provision and is finished to the highest quality. This is exactly what working together in partnership with local industry is all about and to the benefit of the local community.”

Ian Jones, Business Development Manager at Westleigh comments, “The brand new vocational academy at Countesthorpe College provides a long-term sustainable training facility for students both pre and post 16. Not only do we hope to take on youngsters who graduate through this centre, but there is also potential for it to provide apprentices to other developers and contractors in the area.”

The centre was built using timber frame construction methods and also features photo-voltaic panels, a heat recovery and mechanical ventilation system, LCD lighting and is developed to meet the requirements of an A rated Energy Performance Certificate.

The Westleigh Vocational Academy has been shortlisted as one of three finalists in the Sustainable Development of the Year category at the 2010 Leicestershire Property and Construction (ProCon) Awards. The winner will be announced at the awards evening on Thursday 11th November 2010 at the Walkers Stadium in Leicester.

Of the students who will use the new facility approximately 40 will go out on work placements for one day a week. Countesthorpe Community College is therefore looking for businesses in construction, vehicle engineering, hair and beauty and related fields of work which are willing to act as work placements and provide an important contribution to the education of these youngsters. Any interested parties should contact Vice Principal John Slipper on 0116 277 1555 or email jslipper@ countesthorpe.leics.sch.uk.

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