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Bircham Newton construction college operation to be sold

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Plans to sell a key construction industry training site in West Norfolk have been announced this afternoon.

Bosses of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) say they will sign a heads of terms agreement with West Suffolk College over the National Construction College site at Bircham Newton.

Similar agreements are also said to be in place for health and safety training operations run by the CITB.

GV CITB Bircham Norflk.. (2907405)
GV CITB Bircham Norflk.. (2907405)

And a joint statement, issued a short time ago, said the two parties would now enter a period of "due diligence" before completing the deal.

CITB chief executive Sarah Beale said: “The agreements mean that CITB and West Suffolk College will be working to secure the continuity of training provision for the construction industry in relation to both quality and quantity.

"They also mean that the north west Norfolk area would continue to host a major British training college.

"We are looking forward to working together to build and grow the training at Bircham Newton, which will benefit the construction industry, NCC and the local area.”

West Suffolk College principal Dr Nikos Savvas said: “West Suffolk College is delighted to be working with CITB on the acquisition of the National Construction College – Bircham Newton.

"We have a long history of working with employers to upskill and retrain their staff across a number of campuses and firmly believe that we can maintain, develop and build upon the industry-wide reputation of NCC as the home of construction training in the UK.

"We want to build on the experience and knowledge of the NCC team to make Bircham Newton a Centre of Excellence in UK.”

The future of the Bircham Newton site has been in doubt ever since the CITB announced plans to move its headquarters to Peterborough in 2017.

Last year, the board was also accused of "outsourcing" redundancies to other bodies, after it emerged that a task group set up to consider its future use hadn't met for 10 months.

However, officials say the National Construction College remains open for business and is taking bookings throughout 2020.

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