Doncaster reports ‘positive’ discussions on college’s future
Talks with potential partners to find a skills-based use for the former National College for Advanced Transport and Infrastructure are ongoing, after the £26m facility closed in July.
The college opened at Lakeside in 2017 as the High Speed Rail College, conceived at a time when HS2 was a flagship national transport policy.
Initially, the purpose of the college had been to upskill engineers, designers and managers as HS2 came on-stream, but as the project became bogged down in political rows, delays and costing issues, the college’s brief was widened when it was rebranded to NCATI in 2019.
NCATI was taken over by the University of Birmingham Group in 2021 but continued to be loss-making and was wound down this year – in July, Doncaster Council’s cabinet gave officers approval to seek new uses.
The college has around 82,000 sq ft of teaching and workshop space.
Cllr Lani-Mae Ball, cabinet member for early help, education, skills and young people, said: “Since Cabinet considered an update report in July, we have been working hard to find a partner for the site that would be true to its original purpose – deeply rooted in skills, training and learning.
“We are determined to continue this educational use of the site and have been having a range of discussions with those potential partners. I am pleased with the positive nature of the conversations and we have had very strong interest. I hope to share further news as soon as we conclude negotiations.
“It is very encouraging that this site is an attractive proposition to develop a new and exciting offer which supports local strategic plans for skills and economy and on the back of the news around a second UTC in Doncaster further underlines our commitment to grow and develop a range of opportunities in our city.”