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Employer needs top the course agenda at new Barnfield College campus

SKILLS geared to the needs of local employers are top of the agenda in a host of new courses being taught at the new Barnfield College campus in Luton.

Business leaders joined guests from the public sector, staff and students at the official opening of the campus. They heard how the new campus – the first of a three-phase development at the site in New Bedford Road – will play a key part in Luton Council’s plans to end poverty in the town by 2040 through improving skills and qualifications among the town’s future workforce.

The college offers courses in traditional subjects such as health and social care, business, computing, TV and film, hairdressing and beauty therapy. Its new courses include those in forensic science, digital gaming, coding and architecture and interior design.

Guests were given a tour of the specialist facilities, labs and studios, each fitted with the latest industry-standard equipment supporting a course and qualification offer that aligns with the region’s growth industries, said Barnfield principal Cathy Gunn.

Barnfield College principal Cathy Gunn (centre), pictured with SEMLEP’s director of programmes and governance Judith Barker and Neil Hart, programme manager of the Getting Building Fund.

“These new facilities will serve the community for years to come and will enable local people to develop the skills they need to be successful in life and work,” she added.

The celebratory event marked the official opening following 18 months of redevelopment at the New Bedford Road site. Barnfield College, part of West Herts College Group, was supported by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership to secure £4.75 million towards the new campus development as part of the government’s Getting Building Fund.

SEMLEP’s director of programmes and governance Judith Barker said: “SEMLEP are proud to have worked with the executive team at Barnfield College for several years to release this amazing new facility for young people in Luton.

“Raising aspiration and providing employer led learning for young people is key to the council’s plans to end poverty in the town by 2040 and SEMLEP’s vision for sustainable and inclusive economic growth.”

Future phases will deliver specialist construction and engineering facilities and a sports hall.

Cllr Aslam Khan, Luton Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for enhancing skills and education, said: “Luton has an ambitious plan for growth and this new campus will deliver enormous benefits to residents and businesses by helping them to attain the skills they need for future-proofed careers.”

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