The First Minister has today marked the start of construction work on a new state of the art campus in Aberdare, which is set to transform further education and skills training for hundreds of learners in the region.
Following Welsh Government backing at the end of 2015, the First Minister joined staff and learners from Coleg y Cymoedd on the site of the new £22 million Aberdare campus at the ‘cutting of the first turf’ ceremony, marking the official start to construction.
Located in the heart of Aberdare, the new campus will replace Coleg y Cymoedd’s Cwmdare Road site with brand new state of the art facilities to meet the future educational needs of young people and ensure they are highly skilled to meet the needs of industry. The site’s proximity to Aberdare railway station, the new Aberdare Community School and the town centre will provide learners and staff with significantly improved access to public transport and commuter links from outlying areas.
Officially breaking ground at the 2.7 acre site, First Minister, Carwyn Jones said: “It gives me great pleasure to cut the first turf of what will, in time, turn into an ultra-modern, highly efficient learning centre right in the heart of Aberdare.
“We are absolutely committed to providing our learners with state of the art facilities in inspiring surroundings that encourage them to fulfil their potential. That’s why we are investing £11 million in this development as part of our £1.4billion 21st Century Schools and Education programme, which is transforming schools and colleges across the length and breadth of Wales.
“This construction will also provide numerous employment opportunities and will be a much welcome boost for the local community. I very much look forward to returning to Aberdare see the new campus when it is completed.”
The First Minister was joined by construction learners from Coleg y Cymoedd who will benefit from work experience on site throughout the development.
The construction of the new facility will incorporate the latest sustainable building materials, following in the footsteps of Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw campus which received BREEAM Excellence status for its commitment to the green agenda throughout construction. In addition, the college has vowed to work closely with the neighbouring schools to develop a curriculum which complements and enhances their own offerings.
Judith Evans, Principal of Coleg y Cymoedd was on site with the First Minister, and said: “This is a hugely exciting project and it is fantastic to have Welsh Government support along the way. We are committed to providing learners with the very best facilities and development opportunities, and thrilled the First Minister could join us at today’s event marking the first stages of construction.
“The new campus will exemplify Coleg y Cymoedd’s mission to make excellence in education and skills development a reality for all learners in the communities we serve, in particular changing the face of post-16 education in the South Wales Valleys.”
The new Aberdare campus is being jointly funded by Coleg y Cymoedd and Welsh Government, and will offer a variety of courses such as business administration, plumbing, construction and children’s care. It is due for completion in September 2017.