Funding has been secured for a proposed state-of-the-art medical skills and training facility located at the Royal Bolton Hospital site in Farnworth, Bolton, which is expected to contribute £150m to the local economy.
Placing the Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS) on site will provide a unique training and learning environment, as health and education bosses come together to deliver a facility that will give local people highly skilled technical training.
It will cost £30m, create new jobs and provide career development opportunities and access to education in the health and medical sectors. It will also improve the quality of, and access to, healthcare provision for the local area.
The BCMS will be collaboratively developed by the University of Bolton, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, and Bolton Council, with Bolton College leading the project.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority has granted £10m through its Skills Capital funding within the Local Growth Fund to the project. A further £19m will be spent by the University of Bolton Group, with Bolton Council contributing £1m.
Consultancy firm Just Ask Scarlett were appointed by the partners as project director to provide strategic development, estate strategy, curriculum design and secured capital funding to determine the viability of the project.
The construction phase of the site is expected to create 150 full-time equivalent jobs. Once open, it is expected to create an additional 25,000 jobs, including apprenticeships, in its first 20 years.
BCMS will sit along Bolton Council’s new masterplan for Farnworth town centre, which is set to launch this Spring. It will also form a key part of the council’s ambitious “Bolton 2030” vision, which has a focus on improving the health and wellbeing of local residents, and economic prosperity.
The Bolton College of Medical Sciences will also support 3,000 learners each year – totalling 60,000 learners over the first two decades. This includes the creation of 20,000 new apprenticeships in the health sector.
The new facilities will utilise the latest medical technology, with simulation suites and surgical and acute care environments. There will also be dedicated teaching space, a café, and staff and service spaces.
Bill Webster, Principal of Bolton College, commented:
“The Bolton College of Medical Sciences aims to make it easier for local people to access education and career opportunities in the healthcare sector. This will simultaneously improve the current healthcare provision available in the area, by alleviating current staffing pressures in the NHS.
This funding means we are one step closer to creating state-of-the-art facilities that will upskill and future-proof the NHS workforce in Greater Manchester, whilst creating thousands of jobs and contributing millions to the local economy.”
Andy Ennis, Chief Operating Officer, at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is really exciting. It will bring training opportunities for both new and existing staff and we can expand the success we have seen with the Bolton nursing school to other members of staff such as therapists, etc. The new college will be beneficial for staff but also the local population, providing new opportunities in the health sector and contributing to the local economy.
“This new facility will help us continue to be a learning organisation and fulfil our ambition of being the best provider of healthcare. By developing our staff and the staff of the future, we are ensuring the very latest methods and thinking go into patient care and delivering the best outcomes for our patients.”
Kondal Reddy Kandadi, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said: “This strategic initiative will transform health education in Greater Manchester and the wider region.
“It will provide state of the art facilities and next generation learning experience for students.
“Crucially, it will enable Bolton College and the University of Bolton to dramatically increase capability and capacity in an area where there is a nationally recognised and urgent skills gap.”
BCMS Project Director, Mark O’Reilly from Just Ask Scarlett added,
“Having raised my family in Farnworth, I am proud to be working on a project that will make such a huge difference to the local community. This project is testament to the forward-thinking nature of the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, Bolton Council, Bolton College and the University of Bolton, and will provide a blueprint to the rest of Greater Manchester on how we can create jobs for local people, address skills gaps and help future-proof the NHS workforce.”
The new college will be situated in Farnworth, one of Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Andy Burnham town centre challenge areas. The area has strong public transport links and proximity to motorways.
The new development will include a dedicated multi-storey car park, shuttle links to the town centre and provision for cyclists, whilst curriculum timings are designed to sit outside peak travel times to minimise any transport issues. Much of the course material can be accessed online from home, and even more is work-based-learning and apprenticeship provision.
Subject to planning permission, BCMS is expected to welcome its first intake of learners in 2022.
"The new college will be beneficial for staff but also the local population, providing new opportunities in the health sector and contributing to the local economy."
Andy Ennis, COO, at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
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