Bradford College Sets the Stage for National Colleges Week 2024 with Major Investment Projects

Bradford College is gearing up for the upcoming National Colleges Week 2024 (26 February – 1 March) as significant capital investment initiatives take shape. Over the past two years, the college has successfully secured nearly £29 million in funding, paving the way for the enhancement, refurbishment, and construction of new facilities at the heart of Bradford.

The institution’s ambitious estate strategy encompasses three extensive construction projects:

  • The development of new vocational- T level facilities costing £3.5 million in the existing David Hockney Building.
  • A £6.9 million refurbishment of the derelict Garden Mills building on Thornton Road.
  • Construction of the £17 million Future Technologies Centre (FTC), also located on Thornton Road.

These projects are integral to Bradford College’s vision of creating facilities that foster innovative student careers, thereby supporting regional economic growth.

T Level Facilities

A £3.5 million investment from the Department for Education’s T Level Capital Fund (Wave 5) will give rise to a commercial barbering salon, nail bar, collaborative lecture spaces, TV studio, enhanced media editing and recording studios, outdoor dining facilities, and a remodel of The Grove training restaurant. T Level qualifications, an alternative to A Levels, emphasize practical skills demanded by employers.

Scheduled to open in September, these new T Level facilities build upon the success of the £1.3 million Wave 4 funding, which delivered impressive T Level health and early years facilities in 2023.

Garden Mills

The Garden Mills refurbishment, funded by £5.8 million from The Office for Students (OfS) Higher Education Capital Fund (with a £1.1 million College contribution), is underway. Bradford College, one of only five institutions nationally to receive the maximum allocation, entrusted contractor Tilbury Douglas with the task of transforming the 1900s five-storey building. The completion is expected by this summer.

Garden Mills is poised to enhance the College’s existing health science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) facilities. Higher-level HNC/HND and degree students will benefit from state-of-the-art facilities, including flexible laboratories, a prep room, six higher education digital IT labs, an ophthalmic dispensing suite, a clinical suite, a real-life work environment, collaboration areas, and academic teaching spaces.

Future Technologies Centre (FTC)

Construction of the purpose-built FTC building is set to commence in the Spring following the demolition of Junction Mills and surveys by contractor Morgan Sindall. Secured with £15 million funding from the Department for Education’s Further Education Capital Transformation Fund (FECTF), and a £2 million College contribution, the FTC will be the new home for modern automotive and digital engineering curricula.

The FTC is vital for supporting the growth of technology and low-carbon skills capability within West Yorkshire. The College’s Automotive and Digital Engineering Department will relocate to the new premises during the 2025/2026 academic year.

Christopher Malish, Bradford College Vice Principal of Finance & Corporate Services, said; “We’re thrilled to see work scaling up across our project sites after years of logistics and planning. We have an exciting year ahead as we develop sector-leading facilities. This is a huge boost for the College but is also a transformative investment in Bradford city centre, that also supports the wider city centre development.

“These multi-million-pound investments will create cutting-edge learning environments for the local community, allowing the College to deliver on its mission of transforming lives. This will ensure we are at the forefront of teaching and learning, and these new capital projects will provide outstanding spaces and innovative technologies that deliver our vision of creating a better future for all through education and training.

“These new facilities will allow the delivery of curricula designed to address the big societal challenges, enrich our local workforce, showcase a range of inspiring careers, and encourage more businesses to relocate to our environmental and socially responsible region.”

Sheffield-based architects Bond Bryan, who opened an academy at the College’s Trinity Green Campus last year, are actively involved in preparing for these capital projects. The on-site team is engaging with students through guest lectures, workshops, site visits, and mentoring sessions in construction and engineering.

As the seventh annual Colleges Week celebration unfolds (26 February – 1 March), along with the year-round #LoveOurColleges campaign by the Association of Colleges, the focus in 2024 is on ‘influencing, engaging, and celebrating successes’ in the further education sector.