I READ in the Northwich Guardian last week that Warrington & Vale Royal College are planning to locate a new engineering centre in Northwich because local employers have voiced concerns about lack of local training facilities.

WVRC says this new centre will provide training in multiple engineering and trade disciplines and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, training, jobs and careers and will benefit the local economy.

The Government report ‘Delivering STEM skills for the Economy’ outlines the urgent need to provide training facilities for STEM subjects and apprenticeships to meet the need of local employers and WVRC are to be applauded to respond to this call.

It’s clear that WVRC believes there is a business case and the funds for such an engineering centre in Northwich, but why do we need a brand new engineering centre in Northwich when we already have a suitable centre at Mid Cheshire College that can be simply adapted and refurbished to be a STEM focussed Institute of Technology and also provide the employer engaged vocational training and qualifications required by the Government report?

MCC used to offer training and qualifications in engineering disciplines covering Diploma, BTEC, C&G and NVQ and had links with Manchester Metropolitan and Chester Universities.

The Hartford campus provided a wide variety of academic and vocational courses, too numerous to mention.

It still has purpose-built lecture and classrooms, vocational trades training workshops, a library, a sports hall, an art and fashion building, toilet facilities, a canteen, car parks and all the necessary utilities infrastructure.

The campus is served by two nearby railway stations that connect to all stations on the lines to Manchester, Chester, Liverpool and Crewe, a bus and coach route and a convenient Sainsbury store just across the road.

Previously we have been told there is no business case for MCC to remain open but, instead, it was necessary for it to be demolished and have 108 houses built on the grounds.

The WVRC reasons and plans for a new engineering centre have now comprehensively superseded the case for demolishing MCC and building houses on it.

The benefits that re-purposing MCC to the WVRC pioneering requirements would give valuable and long term advantages to our young people, employers, jobs and the local economy considerably greater than just another housing estate.

David Bray Hartford