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Photo: Topping out on the roof of Ashford College. From left to right, the Revd. John MacKenzie, Paul Dubrow of the Hadlow Group, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Chris Burden, Chris Aisbitt and June Wilkinson (all BAM Construction)

Photo: Topping out on the roof of Ashford College. From left to right, the Revd. John MacKenzie, Paul Dubrow of the Hadlow Group, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Chris Burden, Chris Aisbitt and June Wilkinson (all BAM Construction)

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Ashford College celebrates topping out

Photo: Topping out on the roof of Ashford College. From left to right, the Revd. John MacKenzie, Paul Dubrow of the Hadlow Group, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Chris Burden, Chris Aisbitt and June Wilkinson (all BAM Construction)

Photo: Topping out on the roof of Ashford College. From left to right, the Revd. John MacKenzie, Paul Dubrow of the Hadlow Group, Mark Lumsdon-Taylor, Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Chris Burden, Chris Aisbitt and June Wilkinson (all BAM Construction)

Ashford College has held a topping out ceremony to celebrate construction of the new £26 million further and higher education campus in the heart of the town centre reaching roof height.

The college, which is part of the Hadlow Group, is due to open to students in September 2017. The ceremony is a landmark in the delivery of Ashford’s Big 8 projects which will revolutionise the centre of Kent’s market town.

The campus will be a state-of-the-art vocational skills and training facility, providing students with the skills they need for the jobs of the future. Located close to Ashford’s new Commercial Quarter, the college will focus on courses for jobs in the manufacturing, construction, technology and service sectors. There will be closer links with industry in terms of placements and work experience and also in the kind of courses that are available. The curriculum will flex according to the needs of employers.

The rooftop topping out ceremony was conducted by Mark Lumsdon-Taylor for the Hadlow Group, who said: “The people of Ashford have been waiting for their new college for a long time so this is a real celebration. Ashford College is located in a wonderfully vibrant part of the town where so much is happening.”

Damian Green, MP for Ashford and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “This marks a great day not just for education in the borough but for the regeneration of the town centre. I’m delighted to see the building, which symbolises a new start for Ashford and a new chance for thousands of young people to gain excellent qualifications which will help them start their working lives with confidence.”

Cllr Gerry Clarkson, Leader of Ashford Borough Council, said: “This is a significant milestone in the delivery of one of the council’s Big 8 projects. One of the key challenges to economic growth and greater prosperity within the borough is the improvement of the skills base we have locally.

“The delivery of this project will therefore play its part in supporting improved educational provision in Ashford, improving prosperity for both residents and businesses alike, and supporting a stronger future economy within the area.

“With more than 1,000 students and over 100 staff in this location, within easy walking distance of shops, services, bars and restaurants, this development will also have a positive impact on the High Street too. The new college is one of a number of exciting developments which are changing the face of the town centre,” he added.

Paul Hannan, Principal and CEO the Hadlow Group, said the first class education and training currently provided at the existing Jemmett Road campus will transfer to the new campus in Elwick Road next September.

Chris Burden, Construction Manager for BAM Construction South East, said: “We are committed to sourcing labour and materials locally where possible and our metalwork contractor is based in Ashford. Many of our supplies have also been sourced within Kent. We have hosted tours for over 100 students from the existing Ashford College and given them an insight into careers in the construction industry.”

The construction company commissioned by the Hadlow Group is BAM Construction. The architect is HNW Architects, the quantity surveyor is Bailey Partnership, and the structural engineer and M&E consultants are Ramboll.

For further details about Ashford College visit www.ashford.ac.uk
For information about economic development in Ashford visit www.ashfordfor.com

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