Businesses asked to support Portsmouth College in raising skills

The Highfield Campus at the University of Southampton, which is home to the George Thomas Building. Picture: Geograph

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UP TO 10,000 jobs will be safeguarded for the next decade, if funding is found for a new skills centre.

Portsmouth College needs support for its plan, which will see millions of pounds-worth of investment attracted to the region.

It wants to build a seaSTEAMic College – specialising in sport, science, technology, applied creativity engineering and maths – next April.

The people behind the project say the city’s top six employers, such as IBM, BAE Systems, Portsmouth Naval Base and other engineering-based firms, are struggling to find enough new staff with the right skills.

The college is hoping to rectify that by building the centre, and to do so it is hoping to attract £2m of funding from the government’s Coastal Communities Fund.

It is looking for support from the business community in order to pass through round two of the fund’s application.

The project is being supported by the Shaping the Future of Portsmouth initiative, which has been appealing for its members to write letters of support by Friday.

Cheryl Buggy, who is involved with the project on behalf of the Shaping organisation, said: ‘I sent a letter of support on behalf of Shaping the Future of Portsmouth just to stress the importance of this key project to the city.

‘Having a workforce with the right skills is so important so supporting something which will get young people skilled up in these core subjects is, for me, a no-brainer.’

As previously reported in The News, the centre, which will be built next to Portsmouth College, will be used by people from as far afield as Chichester, Petersfield, and Southampton.

It’s hoped that building will be complete in time for the centre to open in May 2015.

Steve Frampton, Portsmouth College principal, previously told The News: ‘The real issue is that we need to engage with people when they are a lot younger and show them how exciting they are.’

Some of those jobs will be showcased at the Portsmouth Opportunities Fair at the Guildhall on Saturday, October 19.

To pledge support, or offer a donation towards the centre fund, email steve.frampton@portsmouth-college.ac.uk by Friday.