University Technical College (UTC) Leeds lays the foundation for new college build

27 July 2015 13:21 - BAM Construct UK Ltd

Hemel Hempstead, 27 July 2015 - UTC Leeds, the specialist new engineering and manufacturing college due to open in September 2016, has begun to lay its foundations by announcing plans for the redevelopment of the grade II listed Braime Pressings factory on Hunslet Road.

The ambitious build plans will see UTC Leeds sympathetically restore surplus space within the Braime Pressings factory building to create a 5,200m² state-of-the-art college with areas designated for heavy engineering, production lines and a mini factory, as well as classrooms and lecture-style theatres. 

The £11 million investment will create a modern, cutting-edge college environment with capacity for 600 pupils aged 14-18. UTC Leeds will also become an integral part of the growing educational hub in the city’s South Bank area where Leeds City College and Leeds College of Building are already based, with construction soon to start on the new Ruth Gorse Academy, one of the largest free schools in the country.

BAM Construction has been appointed as the main contractor for the redevelopment of space within the original factory building. Founded in Leeds, Braime Pressings is a specialist in metal pressings supplying to the automotive and other industries, with a 125-year history in engineering.

Mark Goldstone, Head of Business Representation & Policy for the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and a member of the UTC Leeds steering group, says: ‘This is a major milestone for the UTC and moves us one step closer to our opening in September 2016. The fact that the college will be located next to a functioning manufacturing plant is an excellent example of how closely linked the college is to industry. Members of the UTC Leeds steering group have been extremely impressed both with the quality of the bid from BAM Construction and with the collaborative approach they have adopted with the project.’

John Scahill, BAM Bid Manager, adds: ‘We’re excited to be part of the team who are responsible for bringing the first UTC to the region, helping to strengthen the engineering heritage of Leeds. We have already had our first major meeting, bringing together all internal stakeholders on the build to make sure everything is ready to go as soon as we break ground so we are able to deliver a fully operational college upon opening in September 2016.’

The application for planning permission for UTC Leeds has also now been submitted to Leeds City Council, with permission sought for the change of use and alterations to part of the Braime Pressings factory on Hunslet Road. The application was prepared by a consultant team including Leeds planning consultancy Turley, Mott Macdonald and Race Cottam Architects. 

Mike Ashworth, Associate Director at planning consultancy Turley, who submitted the application, said: ‘This is a fantastic proposal and one that will be of enormous benefit to students in Leeds looking towards a career in the engineering and manufacturing sector. The site – a listed building – is perfect for the college and a good example of how older, underused industrial buildings can be reimagined for alternative uses and preserved for generations to come.’

Notes to editors

The college, which is supported by the University of Leeds and large engineering companies such as Agfa Graphics, Siemens and Unilever, will provide a vocational education for young people aged 14-19 from across the city region, preparing them for a range of high level careers in engineering and advanced manufacturing industries.

University Technical Colleges have been established across the country to help develop the advanced technical skills that UK industry needs to stay competitive in the global markets. Sponsored by The University of Leeds and employers, students at UTC Leeds will benefit from work placements, guest speakers, and a curriculum designed by experts in the field.