Cemast wins Portsmouth North MP’s approval as students start industry training

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt talks to Fareham College student Natasha Insley at CEMAST. ''Picture: Ben Fishwick
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt talks to Fareham College student Natasha Insley at CEMAST. ''Picture: Ben Fishwick

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INDUSTRY will benefit from engineers being trained at a new purpose-built facility.

That was the message from Penny Mordaunt MP as she paid a visit to the Centre for Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Skills Training (Cemast).

Students and apprentices have now started the marine, automotive and aviation courses at the site at Daedalus enterprise zone in Lee-on-the-Solent.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘It’s the most fantastic facility providing the latest possible.

‘Teaching staff are plugged into the industry these youngsters are going to work in.’

She added the college will help sustain the industries it serves and students will take them to the next level.

Just under 400 students and apprentices are studying full time, with a capacity of 450.

It is a specialist college, focusing on engineering, aerospace, aviation and marine industries as part of the ambition for Daedalus.

Around 80 full time students study manufacturing, 175 automotive, 25 marine, and 120 apprentices split across the disciplines.

Natasha Insley, 16, is studying Btec Level 3 mechanical engineering. She said: ‘I thought it was going to be male-dominated but it’s fun.

‘You think it’s going to be serious – we still do series stuff and get on with work.

‘It’s amazing what they’ve spent the money on.’

Work on the facility, which cost £9m of public money, started last year and officially opened in July.

Gage English, 18, is studying a Level 1 Btec in motor sport at the college.

He is in his second year, having studied at the Gosport Marine Skills Centre before, and has already been snapped up by Jensen Motorsport after doing work experience.

‘I’m determined to be part of a race team,’ he said.

‘After the first race he employed me. I go there pretty much every day.’

And Gage said the new facility is much better than the college’s previous site.

‘It’s only a small garage in the old facility,’ he said.

Nigel Duncan, principal at the college, said some courses were having to be increased as demand from industry was more than expected.

He said: ‘All the courses are running well, workshops are open. We’re having to increase capacity to meet demand.’

The college is part of the Solent enterprise zone, where the Homes and Communities Agency and local authorities hopes to create 3,500 jobs.