A £55m new campus investment, including a dedicated centre for advanced manufacturing at Cardiff Airport, has been revealed by Cardiff and Vale College.
It has decided to invest in two new campus sites and subject to land acquisition and planning consents, this will see an up to 90,000 sq ft hi-tech advanced manufacturing campus site at Cardiff Airport and an up to an 80,000 sq ft campus at the Barry Waterfront development.
The college, which has 30,000 full time equivalent students, is seeking to acquire the required land sites for both projects.
The land at Barry Waterfront, which is jointly owned by Vale of Glamorgan Council and the Welsh Government, has a valuation of £450,000. The larger airport land site, which is owned solely by the council, has a price tag of £700,000.
However, it will be a matter for the council to decide whether it opts to sell the land sites to the college.
Chief operating officer of Cardiff and Vale College, Mark Roberts, said the proposed investment would provide state of the art facilities that would further cement its ties with regional employers.
“This is a major vote of confidence in the future of the college, which is the fourth biggest in the UK,” he said.
“Subject to planning consents and a Welsh Government MIM framework agreement, we will be investing in 21st century learning facilities, for are growing number of students and staff.
“It will be a step change also for our partners in employers and businesses by providing professional and higher level skills at our new advanced manufacturing site at Cardiff Airport, where there is also growth room for future expansion of our operations in the Vale of Glamorgan.”
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Subject to planning consents and the Welsh Government providing a financial mechanism for the college to finance the investment, work on both projects are expected to start in the summer of 2020.
The aim is for both campus projects, which are around six miles apart, to be ready in September 2022 for the start of the new academic year for around 2,000 students and staff.
The advanced manufacturing campus, based on strong links with employers, including those in the aerospace and automotive sectors, would replace its current smaller International Centre for Aerospace Training (ICAT).
The proposed waterfront campus could be three storeys and would also benefit from a restaurant training facility and a health and beauty salon.
Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet secretary, Jonathan Bird, added: “While negotiations are at an early stage the Council is very keen to help Cardiff and Vale College realise its ambition of delivering two new state of the art college campuses in the Vale.
“The sites we have identified offer huge potential. Barry Waterfront is perhaps the most innovative urban regeneration project in Wales.
“It currently offers first class leisure opportunities, retail outlets and transport links, alongside a mix of housing. A sector leading higher education campus would be yet another exciting development.
“Equally, development of the second site near to Cardiff Airport would be an exciting early step on developing an area that we see driving forward economic development in the Vale in the near future.”