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Specialist centre to train young people as plumbers and electricians could open in Preston

Posted on - 11th April, 2024 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Avenham, Preston City Centre, Preston Council, Preston News
Frenchwood Avenue building
Frenchwood Avenue building

A specialist centre to train young people as plumbers and electricians could be coming to Preston.

Plans have been lodged to convert part of an office building near the city centre into a facility which would give 16-25-year-olds the skills they need to enter the two in-demand professions.

The premises – on Frenchwood Avenue – used to be fully occupied by Virgin Media, but the firm vacated the western part of the two-storey building at the end of 2021 and the space has remained empty ever since. Work-based learning provider JTL now wants to convert that part of the property into a new vocational training centre for up to 100 students.

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If the scheme is approved by Preston City Council, practical workshops would operate on the ground floor, along with a test and inspection area.  Classrooms and meeting rooms would be located upstairs.

It is expected that 10 tutors and technician staff will be employed at the training facility when it is running at maximum capacity. Virgin Media continues to be based elsewhere in the remainder of the premises.

A planning statement on behalf of JTL – which was established in 1990 – states:  “There are very limited sites within Preston and the surrounding areas currently available on the market which meets the applicant’s profile and provides the requisite space to feasibly convert into a training centre premises – and that also provides adequate levels of parking to accommodate both staff and student numbers and that is economically viable.

“The current empty wing of the building has been vacant since December 2021 following the restructure of the existing occupant. The property has been marketed since February 2022, however, the interest in the office sector has been impacted by the Covid pandemic and changes in business working practices.”

The majority of the training activity would take place during normal office hours on weekdays, although there is the potential for occasional evening and weekend classes.

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