The Northern Powerhouse Minister, Andrew Percy MP, has visited the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) to officially mark the construction phase of the University’s £30 million plus Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC).
As part of a tour of Lancashire the Minister took part in a turf-cutting ceremony to break ground on the site, which will be the first major milestone in the completion of UCLan’s 10-year £200 million Campus Masterplan.
Due to open in 2018, the EIC will deliver a range of key objectives including reclaiming Lancashire’s role as a national centre for advanced manufacturing, ensuring that local skills reflect social and economic needs, and increasing the number of females in engineering careers. Through the EIC the University also aims to produce an increase of 500 locally trained graduates per year, in areas such as aerospace, mechanical and oil and gas safety engineering.
David Taylor, Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the UCLan Board, commented:
We are delighted that Andrew could join us today to officially mark the development phase of our £30 million plus Engineering Innovation Centre. The University is poised to become a real leader in engineering innovation, providing a world-class facility for young people to realise their potential, and the lifeblood for the North West region to maintain its position as the powerhouse of engineering and manufacturing in the UK.
Professor Mike Thomas, UCLan Vice-Chancellor, added:
Beginning work on the EIC building signifies a key phase of the UCLan Masterplan that will spark regeneration and business investment in the University quarter of the City, with wider benefits for Preston and the region.
The visit comes a week after UCLan was announced as an official Northern Powerhouse Partner, joining an elite list of regional leaders who strongly believe in the potential to grow the northern economy bringing investment and new jobs into the region.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Andrew Percy said:
Building the Northern Powerhouse is central to our plans to create an economy that works for everyone. We’re backing the North with the investment and powers it needs to fulfil its huge untapped potential and I’m pleased to see businesses here, working alongside the Lancashire LEP, are pledging their support.
In addition to his UCLan visit, Andrew Percy MP also addressed more than 200 Lancashire business leaders and stakeholders from across the county at a special Lancashire Enterprise Partnership conference at Burnley Football Club.