Construction and Infrastructure

Construction sector hails pending arrival of new £2m skills centre

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 04 November 2020 7:42

Construction sector hails pending arrival of new £2m skills centre

It is not just us making a big deal out of the Construction Skills Accelerator Centre for Gloucestershire - which we can reveal has just won planning permission allowing the project to go ahead.

Driven by Forest of Dean-headquartered KW Bell, with the wheels oiled substantially with capital from GFirst LEP, this project also saw Robert Jenrick MP stop off for his photo opportunity in September.

With a nation desperate for good news the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government had every right to sing about the Government’s input into this project – all £2m of it, although it is funding won for the county by the aforementioned local enterprise partnership.


Pictured: Founder of K W Bell, Keith Bell, Mark Harper MP for the Forest of Dean, Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government; Sarah Danson, director of strategic growth, GFirst LEP, Peter Bell, MD of K W Bell; Nicola Bird, director of K W Bell and MD of the CSAC and Yvonne Bell, non-executive director, CSAC

Now the new-build specialist skills centre of excellence, which will aim to inspire, train and connect people entering and advancing within the construction industry, has won planning permission to go ahead.

Jonathan White, vice chairman of the dynamic sector group Constructing Excellence Gloucestershire and a senior associate of Quattro Design Architects – said: “We think this is going to be really positive for the sector. Not only that, this is a family company, from Gloucestershire at the heart of making things happen.”

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When complete the new 980 square metre facility in Cinderford “will be a centre of excellence providing an innovative learning environment, which is interactive, digitally-advanced and safe for students, apprentices and tradespeople looking to upskill”.

It is expected to create five new jobs but be able to deliver 200 CITB and industry-recognised qualifications annually, rising to 500 per annum by year six, 26 apprenticeships by the end of year two, rising to 40 completions year on year from year three onwards.

An estimated 100 pupils per year are expected to attend the ‘Introduction to Construction’ Key Stage Four school programme with speakers and career talks, rising to 500 annually by year six.



Nicola Bird is a director at K W Bell - the third-generation of the founding Bell family leading the business which now employs an estimated 500 staff.

“We’re striving to provide individuals 16 years and over with the crucial skills they require to successfully enter and operate within the industry,” said Ms Bird, who is also managing director of the CSAC.

“Now more than ever, construction is key to helping rebuild the economy during these difficult times, so knowing that we’ve been given the all-clear to offer training that develops long-term careers in construction is wonderful.”

K W Bell Group will project manage the build, support the construction work, and undertake the day-to-day running of the centre.

Once complete, K W Bell will collaborate with Gloucestershire College and the University of Gloucestershire, with support from local employers and industry representatives including global giant JCB, to develop job-ready men and women, equipping them with knowledge and practical experience of the latest technological advances in sustainability and ‘digital construction’.  

With plans to be open for use in late 2021, the centre is set to deliver much-needed training in construction skills for up to 500 pupils a year, by its sixth year in business.

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