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Skills academy for planning approval

Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects has submitted this £13.5 million vocational skills academy in Southend, Essex, for planning approval.

Prospects College is supported by the Sustainable Communities Fund and aims to increase the number of training places available in skills such as construction and engineering, which are in high demand in the area.

The design aims to be flexibly based round an active spine wall, housing conference facilities and the centre's three academies, equipped with the latest learning technology. Neil Bates, chief executive of Prospects College, said: 'Construction employment in Essex is set to grow from 35,000 to 38,000 by 2007 and nearly 2,000 new entrants will be needed in craft occupations alone, just to meet existing levels of demand. The Tomlinson 14-19 review stressed the importance of vocational learning and the new college will place skills training at the top of the agenda in south Essex.'

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