BLACKBURN College welcomed car dealers, governers and building workers to a ‘ground breaking’ event to officially launch the construction of its new £5.5m Motor Vehicle Centre.

The two-storey state of the art motor vehicle building in Fielding Street will consist of five classrooms, two computer labs, a MOT lane, a diagnostic lab and a refinishing centre.

The college and building contractors Bardsley Construction have worked closely with car dealerships in the hopes of creating a centre that will give students a well rounded education about the whole of the motor industry, rather than just focusing on the basics of car repair.

Chris Wright, director of Vocational Curriculum at Blackburn College - who will be heading up the running of the new centre, said: “We are really excited to get our first cohort of students in during September this year.

“Working with local dealers has meant that we gained the best understanding of what the employers in the industry are looking for and we feel confident that the new centre will provide them with a well rounded knowledge of the motor vehicle industry.

“We know that whatever you would see in a high-tech Audi garage, for instance, students will be able to see and work with here.”

The news comes as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that car sales recorded in the UK in 2013 was the best year since 2007.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that 2.26 million vehicles were registered in 2013 - a 10.8 per cent increase on 2012.

Andrew Turner, managing director of Chorley Nissan, said: “The motor industry is really driving the economy in the UK and there are jobs to be filled.

“We regularly take on apprentices and find that there are gaps in their industry knowledge and this new centre will address that.

“It’s been a pleasure to work alongside the college and we are looking forward to the future."