Construction starts on hi-tech education facility in Ebbw Vale

ISG has started work on the site of the former Monwel Hankinson factory, Ebbw Vale, to create a new multi-million hi-tech post 16 education facility.

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Image: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

The new 21,808 sq ft High Value Engineering (HiVE) facility will provide state-of-the art training and education for young people and businesses in the fields of robotics, advanced materials and manufacturing, and digital and enabling technologies.

In partnership with Coleg Gwent, and industry partners, the Council secured over £12 million from the Welsh Government’s Tech Valleys programme and the UK Government to bring the redundant factory building back in to use and create HiVE facility.

HiVE will be located on the 1.96-acre site in Ebbw Vale, Wales, the site of the former Monwel Hankinson Building on Letchworth Road.

"Maximising the opportunities that Industry 5.0 presents for individuals, our communities and the wider economy relies on us having the right domestic skills and expertise in place. We are learning that overseas investment in Wales and across the UK is increasingly dependent on workforce competencies, so a response in the form of this outstanding HiVE facility cannot be underestimated in terms of its impact and legacy."

Kevin McElroy, Operations Director

Close to Ebbw Vale town centre and the Coleg Gwent, Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone, there will be a high-quality teaching space with the capacity for up to 600 students, complete with classrooms, study areas and a range of workshop spaces. The space will be kitted out with state-of the-art robotics and manufacturing equipment available for use by both post 16 students and businesses taking on new technologies.

In addition, across Blaenau Gwent and the Heads of the Valley region, primary and secondary schools will have access to HiVE and will be able to have guest lectures and demonstrations to help develop an understanding of the world of work through real world experiences and access to equipment outside of a school's often limited capability.

The facility will be available to all residents across Wales and will have the remit to encourage Learners and Students from under-represented groups into STEM careers.

Councillor John Morgan, Cabinet Member for Place and Regeneration at Blaenau Gwent Council commented: "This is such an exciting project that has been facilitated by the council; to be able to develop a state-of-the-art education and training facility here in Blaenau Gwent in partnership with Coleg Gwent to support our business community is great news. I am sure that this will be a catalyst to create highly skilled local jobs and long-term economic growth for the area."

The plan is to complete the building work by July 2024 in time to welcome students, including those enrolled onto engineering courses at Coleg Gwent from Autumn 2024.

This was originally published at the Blaenau Gwent council site and can be seen here.

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