Work has begun on the development of the Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS), a new medical and clinical skills training facility located at the Royal Bolton Hospital site in Farnworth.
It follows the decision from Bolton Council’s planning committee to grant planning permission for the development in June.
Due to open in 2024, BCMS will provide unrivalled training opportunities for aspiring and existing healthcare professionals, and is expected to serve as a transformational blueprint for training NHS staff.
A collaborative project between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council, BCMS will give people a direct route into clinical healthcare employment. with a focus on practical, skills-based learning in a live hospital environment.
In addition to a range of new courses and apprenticeships that will provide entry-level and higher-level skills development for those aged 16+, BCMS will also deliver continual professional development opportunities for existing NHS staff.
Apprenticeship provision will extend to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, with programmes including Nursing Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships in Care Leadership and Management.
BCMS, which was allocated £20m by the Levelling-Up Fund last year, will deliver training to approximately 3000 learners each year. Once open, it is expected to contribute £150m to the local economy over its lifetime.
The construction of the facility itself, led by contractor Willmott Dixon, will generate a minimum local spend of £6m, largely through local employment and supply-chain expenditure.
The foundations for BCMS are currently being laid, with the construction of the building frame due to begin next month.
Professor George E Holmes DL, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, says:
BCMS is arguably one of the most significant projects delivered in the North West in decades. Not only will it increase employment prospects in the local area and make healthcare professions more accessible, but it will also help alleviate NHS staffing pressures in Greater Manchester and provide improved levels of care in our community. It’s brilliant to see the build underway.
BCMS Project Director and Managing Director of strategic consultancy Just Ask Scarlett, Mark O’Reilly, adds:
After several years in the making, it’s fantastic to see our vision for this trailblazing facility come to life. We’re now well on our way to opening the doors to a facility that will change people’s lives not just here in Bolton, but across the North West.
Annette Walker, Director of Finance at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, says:
Bolton College of Medical Sciences will help us develop our existing staff and provide new routes for those who want a future in healthcare to expand their skills. It really is an exciting project both for us as an organisation, and the whole town.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Adele Warren, adds:
Bolton College of Medical Sciences will be a great asset to our borough, creating jobs and giving residents the opportunity to learn skills and train for a new career. The council is proud to work closely with our partners on this development, one of many key regeneration projects being delivered across the borough.
Commenting on being appointed for the build, Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North, says:
We are hugely proud to continue to play our part in shaping the future of Bolton. BCMS will be built for the people of Bolton by the people of Bolton, and we will work with our local supply chain partners to create sustainable employment opportunities and a lasting positive legacy in this community.
During construction of BCMS, additional parking will be provided for hospital staff, replacing those spaces that will be displaced by the development of the BCMS site. Once built, BCMS will create an additional 250 spaces on top of current parking provision.
The first intake of BCMS learners is due to start in 2024.