Sod cutting marks start of skills centre

Sod cutting at Delamore.

Sod cutting at Delamore.

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The creation of the new horticultural skills centre for Fenland took another step forward on Monday (March 25) with a “Cutting of the Sod” ceremony at the Delamore plant in Wisbech St Mary.

Wielding the ceremonial spade were Fenland District Council Leader Alan Melton and Wayne Eady, Delamore’s managing director. They were joined by Mark Cooper from the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), two representatives from the contractors CBD, a group of apprentices from the plant and senior council officers.

The aims of the centre include the development of curriculum-based skills training for pupils in the 14-16 age group and the creation of apprenticeships and work-based job opportunities for 16-19-year-olds.

It will combine laboratories and classrooms with more than 1,100 square metres of glasshouse and a further 1,000 square metres of polytunnels.

Construction work is due to start at the end of April.

The centre is one of the key projects of the Wisbech 2020 Vision. It is aimed at helping students and employees obtain the necessary skills both to raise their aspirations and meet the specific requirements of employers.

The College of West Anglia and the private sector will be closely involved in the design and delivery of the training.

Councillor Melton said: “I’m very excited about what we’ve started here and I’m looking forward to it coming to fruition. It will bring forward fantastic training facilities in what is a key sector for this area.”