VIPs from across West Oxfordshire joined staff and students at Abingdon & Witney College to witness the official opening of the new Livestock Technology Centre.
The £1.9m facility at Common Leys Farm, officially opened by Robert Courts MP, will provide innovative technology and the latest skills and knowledge for young people who are keen to establish a career in the agriculture industry.
According to the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), who secured c£1m of funding through the Government’s Local Growth Fund, the centre “could play a key role in growing the county’s economy.”
The AgriTech Innovation Skills Centre has been developed at the College’s Common Leys campus on the outskirts of Witney and will provide a ‘highly-technical’ environment, supporting courses and research relating to livestock husbandry. Students will be able to use a NEDAP Pig Performance Testing station, Shearwell Data for sheep stock analysis and a live feedback system through the large screen installed within the facility. This will enable theory to be taught within the livestock area, giving students a unique learning experience.
Guests were particularly impressed by the current crop of students who provided tours, explaining what they do on their course and their experiences at the campus.
Nigel Tipple – OxLEP Chief Executive – said: “Such a significant project will, first and foremost, have a positive impact on the agri-tech sector, as well as supporting young people and their skills development.
“It also provides a real opportunity for Oxfordshire to continue to drive dynamic economic growth through this sector – both locally and nationally. “We are delighted to have secured such a significant Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be real asset to Abingdon and Witney College’s future growth plans.”
Di Batchelor – Principal and CEO at Abingdon and Witney College – added: “We have always been extremely proud of our Land-based facilities, staff and students. This new centre will enable us to take our provision to the next level and prepare us for the future, whilst always ensuring that our courses are as accessible and inclusive as they always have been”