Building work has begun on a new state-of-the-art medical and clinical skills training college in Bolton.
The Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS) is due to open next year at the Royal Bolton Hospital site on Minerva Road, Farnworth.
Once completed, the college will aim to provide a range of courses and training opportunities for medical students including nursing apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships in care leadership and management.
The BCMS will give people a direct route into clinical healthcare employment, with a focus on practical, skills-based learning in a live hospital environment.
Leaders say it will provide unrivalled training opportunities for aspiring and existing healthcare professionals and will serve as a transformational blueprint for training NHS staff.
The college is expected to train 3000 students a year and contribute £150million to the borough’s economy.
Project director Mark O’Reilly stated “After several years in the making, it’s fantastic to see our vision for this trailblazing facility come to life. We’re now well on our way to opening the doors to a facility that will change people’s lives not just here in Bolton, but across the North West.”
The college will offer a range of new courses and apprenticeships that will provide entry-level and higher-level skills development for those aged 16 and over. Its apprenticeship provision will extend to higher and degree apprenticeships, with programmes including nursing, care leadership and management.
Alongside these courses, BCMS will also deliver continual professional development opportunities for existing NHS staff across Greater Manchester.
University of Bolton President and Vice-Chancellor Professor George E Holmes said: “BCMS is arguably one of the most significant projects delivered in the North West in decades.
“Not only will it increase employment prospects in the local area and make healthcare professions more accessible, but it will also help alleviate NHS staffing pressures in Greater Manchester and provide improved levels of care in our community.
“It’s brilliant to see the build underway.”
The major project is a collaboration between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council and is one of the biggest projects Bolton has seen in recent years.
It was made possible after £20 million worth of Levelling Up funding was granted by the government and after Bolton Council granted planning permission for the development in June.
Bolton’s cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Adele Warren said: “Bolton College of Medical Sciences will be a great asset to our borough, creating jobs and giving residents the opportunity to learn skills and train for a new career.
“The council is proud to work closely with our partners on this development, one of many key regeneration projects being delivered across the borough.”
Bolton NHS Foundation Trust director of finance Annette Walker said: “Bolton College of Medical Sciences will help us develop our existing staff and provide new routes for those who want a future in healthcare to expand their skills.
“It really is an exciting project both for us as an organisation and the whole town.”