North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College has moved closer to delivering a new Digital Skills and Innovation Centre and training restaurant in Nuneaton town centre after approval was provided by the college’s board to move forward with the next steps in the planning process. The new facility will be built within the former Co-op building in Abbey Street with an £8M investment from the government’s Towns Fund.
Plans for the additional campus will be developed in liaison with Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, the My Town Nuneaton Board, Warwickshire County Council and the Transforming Nuneaton project on its next steps.
It is anticipated that the new state-of-the-art centre, due to open in 2024, will help to regenerate skills and careers opportunities in the town, enable access to digital skills training, provide an incubation space for business start-ups. It will also support the hospitality sector through a training restaurant that will be open to the public. The facility is expected to serve over 2,600 students over the next ten years, supporting 290 business start-ups and delivering value to the economy worth £13.4M.
Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “Our fine dining restaurant has won multiple national awards for the standard of its teaching and this training restaurant will give diners the chance to see into the kitchens and watch their food being prepared.
“It will provide students with a wonderful chance to learn the skills needed in the catering and hospitality industry in a brand new building as well as having teaching spaces for students. The demand for digital skills courses is increasing as more people are working from home or from retailers who want to develop their IT skills as their business has diversified, and this will provide an opportunity to deliver on-site courses since not everyone has access to high-quality technology at home.
“The centre will also provide space and the facilities to support people with their own micro or small business as well as those who have an idea to set-up a business. It is an amazing opportunity for current and future students and is a really good example of collaboration between education and a local authority.”
The Digital Skills and Innovation Centre, which is expected to open in 2024, is part of the wider Abbey Street regeneration scheme which involves creating a hotel, new buildings for leisure operators, a food hall, and a multi-storey car park.