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Minister of State for Employment, Esther McVey MP, took time out of her busy schedule on Thursday 12 March 2015 to visit the construction site of Wirral Met College’s new campus, the first building on Peel Group’s Wirral Waters.

Work is well underway on the £8m campus, with the steel frame works now complete, and Morgan Sindall, the appointed contractors for the project, has started the next phase of construction. They are now in the process of fitting the metal deckings and concrete slab to form the first floor.

Charlotte Bennett, Rebecca Boylin, Natalie Graham, Sue Higginson Principal of Wirral Met College, Emily Giles, Esther McVey Minister of State for Employment, Andrew Besant-Roberts of Morgan Sindall, Seamus McGovern of Morgan Sindall and Gill Roberts of Morgan Sindall.

During her visit, the Minister met Wirral Met College Principal Sue Higginson, and students Charlotte Bennett, Rebecca Boylin, Natalie Graham and Emily Giles, who are all currently studying towards qualifications in construction. Charlotte and Rebecca are both studying the Level 1 Diploma in Painting and Decorating qualifications at Wirral Met College and Natalie and Emily are studying the Level 1 Diploma in Plastering. The students were keen to visit the site where their new campus is being built and help increase awareness of women in the construction industry.

Charlotte Bennett, aged 16 and from Upton, is keen to specialise in painting and decorating and will progress onto higher level qualifications at Wirral Met College. Her ultimate aim is to complete a teaching qualification and teach other students at the college. Rebecca Boylin, aged 17 and from Birkenhead, has her sights on becoming an apprentice and she is also keen to study hard and gain higher level qualifications, so that she can become an accomplished painter and decorator.

Natalie Graham, aged 17 and from Wallasey, hopes to progress to an apprenticeship after she has completed a level two diploma in Plastering. Emily Giles, aged 17 and from Wallasey, has the same aspirations as Natalie and hopes to gain an apprenticeship in Plastering. Emily will complete her level one diploma this year and will progress onto the level two diploma, studying at the new campus from September 2015.

The project funded collaboratively with the financial support of the Homes & Communities Agency (HCA), the Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Wirral Met and Peel, is due for completion in September 2015. It will be the first key landmark on Wirral Waters – a 30-year project by Peel Group to transform the Birkenhead dockland, and one half of the Mersey Waters Enterprise Zone.  As the building takes shape, students from Wirral Met College have been making regular visits to the construction site, so that they can learn from the specialist contractors and gain practical experience to support their studies.

Speaking after her visit, Esther McVey MP said: “I was delighted to be able to support the college in securing the Government funding for this much needed resource for Wirral. This new college will bring many extra facilities that will benefit students, local businesses and the wider northwest region. I was really impressed that Wirral Met, the architects and the builders were all working with the students in order to deliver a building and facility that they can call their own and all be immensely proud of.”

Sue Higginson, Principal of Wirral Met said: “It is very exciting to see our new Wirral Waters Campus taking shape. Students are getting involved in visits and learning during all phases of the building project. The campus will accommodate our Construction department where young people can choose to develop skills for work in all of the construction trades and in professional studies. We have been receiving applications since last September from people who want to study with us next September and the college’s construction team has been actively involved in the design of the building, to create the ideal specification for our teaching and learning environment.”

Richard Mawdsley, project director at Peel, said: “An essential part of creating a new ‘place’ that companies and employers are attracted to – is having a pool of relevant skills and labour. The new Wirral Met College campus at Wirral Waters is the start of that plan. We need to grow the skills base at Wirral Waters within sectors such as construction, engineering, energy and maritime. We’re delighted to be part of the collaboration between Wirral Met, Morgan Sindall and Peel and that construction students are gaining valuable experience during the build phase of this important project.”

Charlotte Bennett, Natalie Graham, Emily Giles, Sue Higginson Principal of Wirral Met College, Esther McVey Minister of State for Employment, Rebecca Boylin

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