A Cabinet decision made at last week’s meeting (20 July) authorised the Council to explore options around forming a strategic investment partnership with Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association (HWGTA).

Both parties have agreed to work on proposals that would look to establish a new Centre of Excellence to enable further development of vocational work based skills across the county and a full business case will now be developed and brought back to Cabinet for a decision in Autumn 2023.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Group Training Association (HWGTA) have been training apprentices and delegates to develop skills, knowledge and behaviours for 56 years, making a significant contribution to the Herefordshire economy.

Due to its many successes, the HWGTA intends to relocate to Plot 7 on Skylon Park and build a new Centre of Vocational Excellence. 

They approached the Council to explore an investment opportunity with the Association based on shared objectives around developing local people, increasing skills in the county and ultimately driving up productivity and economic growth.

Cllr Graham Biggs, Cabinet Member Economy and Growth, said: “This administration is committed to encouraging continuous investment in the county’s workforce to help transform Herefordshire’s economy and deliver more better-paid jobs. 

“A vital part of this vision is supporting a culture of lifelong learning and upskilling in our communities. 

“The County Plan outlines our ambition to work with organisations to be more creative in how we use and share our collective assets, increase our local investment, encourage the development of new businesses and explore new methods of financial support.

“Skylon Park has grown into the burgeoning business quarter in Hereford, and is cultivating its identity as a centre of ground-breaking engineering, learning, skills, and new business development, so the vacant plot 7 lends itself very well to becoming a new centre of vocational excellence.”

Cllr Biggs added: “Through working in partnership with organisations like HWGTA, helping them to grow and develop, we are contributing positively towards helping local people to become more adaptable and highly skilled, boosting their employability and earning potential, thus creating local economic opportunities and attracting investment.”

For more information, please read the meeting papers.

From Herefordshire & Worcestershire Group Training Association:

HWGTA are pleased to announce we have been exploring the potential of relocating our Hereford centre from our Holmer Road site to a new purpose-built Centre of Vocational Excellence in Skylon Park, Hereford.

Due to our shared objectives around developing local skills provision, we are in positive discussions with Herefordshire Council about a potential partnership arrangement to help make this project a reality.

HWGTA’s Chief Executive, Nigel Morgan, says “Although there are many hurdles to overcome, this project would allow us to lay the foundations for our future provision in Herefordshire. The proposed relocation to a new, purpose-designed and built facility is integral to our long-term ambitions to train the skilled workforce of the future and enhance our relationships with local businesses.”

Click here for the press release from Herefordshire Council: https://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/news/article/1583/council-looks-to-form-strategic-investment-partnership