A TOWN centre learning hub is to become a ‘nationally unique’ centre where motoring giants and education bosses comes together.

Blackburn College say they are ahead of deadline to unveil their £5.5million Regional Automotive Technology Hub next month.

The centre will draw heavily on input from project partners Blackburn Audi, BMW Bowker, Chorley Nissan Group and Simpsons Skoda.

As well as bridging a skills gap, students will access more jobs and extended training scholarships. Many of the skills they learn will be brand specific, negating the need for post-job training.

The new building is set to be unveiled in late August and features five classrooms and two computer labs. The workshops will also feature a real life MOT lane, a diagnostic lab and refinishing centre. Staffed by over 20 tutors and technicians the centre will be a base for over 330 students.

Designed by DLA architecture, the new building is also set to transform the town centre campus, set on the busy junction where Fielden Street meets Montague Street.

The college has asked architects to open up the campus making central cafes and the sports centre accessible to non students. Passers by will be able to see the automotive students at work late into the evening in the lit up glass fronted design workshops.

Director of Vocational Curriculum at Blackburn College, Chris Wright said: “The image of the automotive worker as a grease monkey is now very outdated — you need exceptional technical skills.

“This centre will be unique as it is a place where knowledge and industry comes together and shares best practice.

“Our vision is to ensure the automotive sector has a skilled, competent and professional workforce.

“The clear intent is that the RATH becomes a regional hub for the sector through which it can engage and address skill shortages identified as ‘critical’ by the industry.”

The building of the Regional Automotive Technology Hub is the fourth project that Bardsley Construction will be undertaking for the college, having also worked on the college’s Beacon Centre, STEMM building, and UCBC Building.

This scheme brings the total value of work undertaken by Bardsley Construction at the college to £35.2m.