Government minister supports ‘game-changing’ college development

16 Aug 2019 02:47
Published by: Daniel Almond


A Government minister gave his backing to a pioneering new college in Greater Manchester that will train a new generation of health and social care professionals.



Simon Clarke MP, who is Exchequer Secretary, was briefed by the partners spearheading the Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS) on Thursday 15th August.


The new state-of-the-art vocational and professional skills and training facility is a joint venture between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council.


It will be based on the site of the Royal Bolton Hospital in Farnworth, where representatives talked to Mr Clarke privately about the exciting initiative which will

transform how NHS workforces are trained in the UK, alleviate staffing pressures and result in an improved level of care.


When open, the facility is expected to bring £150m to the local economy.


After the meeting, Bill Webster, Principal of Bolton College, said: “The Bolton College of Medical Sciences is the most exciting and innovative project I have ever been involved with.

“It has the potential to bring about a significant impact in the locality, with direct learning routes through to health sector employment.”


Professor George E Holmes, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of Bolton, added: “This is arguably the most significant development for the university, the hospital and the town for a generation.


“The project is a game-changer in delivering the skills gap in sub-regional health professions.  I am delighted that the Treasury Minister was so supportive.”


Donna Hall, Chair of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “I’m delighted to have welcomed Mr Clarke to the Royal Bolton Hospital to hear about this truly exciting project – it’s partnership at its best and will be a great boost for the local area, as well as helping us secure the vital skills we need for our future workforce.”


Bolton Council Leader, David Greenhalgh said: “It was a pleasure to be able to share our plans for the project with the Minister. Bolton College of Medical Sciences will provide such a unique model in terms of training, the likes of which has not been seen before.


“Bolton does partnership very well, and this is a unique partnership which I believe the whole of the health service can learn from.”


Cllr Sean Fielding, GMCA Lead for Employment, Skills and Apprenticeships, has previously expressed his support for the project. He said: “The GMCA are proud to be supporting the proposed Bolton College of Medical Sciences and have committed £10m from the Local Growth Fund.

“The new facility will offer improved pathways and state of the art facilities for learners in the medical sciences sector.

“Investment in skills is vitally important for Greater Manchester, making it attractive for employers, and giving every resident the chance to get ahead.

“We are looking forward to seeing the project move forward and offer our ongoing support.”

Mr Clarke was in Greater Manchester as part of a nationwide tour to renew the Treasury’s support for the Northern Powerhouse.


He visited Bolton, Farnworth and Astley to see how devolution is delivering for people outside of the major cities in the region.


Mr Clarke met local leaders including Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Cllr Greenhalgh.


The overall cost of the BCMS project is £30m. Greater Manchester Combined Authority has granted £10m through its Skills Capital Fund, supported by the University of Bolton Group, in partnership with Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council, which has granted £1m of funding.


BCMS will give people a direct route into health and social care employment and provide unrivalled training opportunities for existing hospital staff to upskill and further their careers.


It will focus on learning within a healthcare culture, with practical training within simulated hospital environments and be able to teach 3,000 students a year, with around 1,000 apprentices in a range of health and social care roles.


BCMS is expected to welcome its first intake of learners in 2022.

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