New Automotive Centre to officially open

September 30, 2021

A group of VIPs and local trade businesses joined staff, Governors, and students from Shrewsbury Colleges Group to officially open the new bespoke Automotive Engineering Training Centre at the London Road campus. 

The facility which has been open and in use over the last nine months for students was officially opened on Friday 10 September 2021 with a VIP and trade ceremony.  

The new facility was unveiled by college Principal James Staniforth along with key facility sponsors RMT Garage Equipment and Draper Tools. Also present at the event were British Touring Car Racing Team, EXCELR8 Motorsport, along with one of their team drivers, Chris Smiley.  

Trade businesses enjoyed an evening of demonstrations of the latest techniques and equipment from the supporters of the Automotive Centre, a project supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership. The LEP invested more than £200,000 in the centre through its Growth Deal with Government. 

Mandy Thorn, Chair of the LEP, said: “Thanks to the investment and support from businesses, the LEP and Shrewsbury Colleges Group, this centre is a leading hub for automotive training in the region.  

“It means students will have the skills needed to help employers compete in a highly competitive market and also help improve the career prospects of our young people given the thriving automotive sector and supply chain we have here in the Marches.”  

RMT Garage Equipment had a wide display of cutting-edge workshop equipment and demonstrations of ADAS, wheel alignment, Air Conditioning, MOT, and tyre changing equipment. Draper Tools attended with their Technical Trainers and a wide selection of hand tooling. Migatronic welders and G E Welding brought along the latest welders, portable fume extraction systems and other welding equipment.  

Autoglym brought their vast range of detailing products with their technical trainer, to show case to the students and trade guests. They demonstrated throughout the day, which of their products should be used to achieve ultimate finish on every component of a vehicle, even the vinyl wrap on Chris’s car!  

Alongside the traditional automotive technologies, Sureworks Electrical were on hand to answer any EV charging stations/solar energy questions and any other electrical question raised. The teaching team from the college were also present to answer any training questions and demonstrate our Electric/Hybrid Vehicle training equipment 

Michelle Barret from the Institute of Motor Industries (IMI) was on hand to speak with attendees and help to promote key items, such as the newly launched Professional Register for electric Vehicle Technicians (TechSafe, which is supported by the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles), industry membership and the vast array of other work that they do to support the Automotive Industry and those who work within it. 

Andy Lee, Director of Employer Engagement and Curriculum Leader for Engineering and Motor Vehicle, said: ‘We were delighted that so many local automotive businesses were able to join us in opening the new Automotive Centre. This development has enabled us to expand and enhance our capacity to deliver accessible and relevant training in the core economic sectors of Advanced Manufacturing Engineering and Automotive for the region.  

The additional training opportunities we can offer through these facilities will further enhance the Engineering and Automotive facilities we already have. We will be able to provide training in such areas as Electric Vehicles, Advanced Diagnostics, ADAS, Master Technician, and further develop our MOT and Mechanical Engineering capacity.’ 

James Staniforth, Principal at Shrewsbury Colleges Group, said: ‘We are very grateful for the Marches LEP, RMT Garage Equipment, Draper Tools and Makita Manufacturing Europe Ltd – based in Telford, in supporting us financially and technically to enable this much-needed expansion and re-development to take place in these areas. 

We were thrilled to be able to show our fantastic new facility to the local motor trade and showcase what we can offer to this hugely important sector of the economy. This facility will allow local residents to fill high-value job opportunities which will support economic growth within the region as well as enabling those people already employed within these sectors to upskill.’ he added. 

The centre, which cost over £500K was funded partly by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership Skills Infrastructure Capital Fund, with £200k being awarded to the project. The College met the remainder of the costs and in partnership with RMT Garage Equipment Ltd, Draper Tools and Makita Manufacturing Europe Ltd – based in Telford, there was a further £150K in equipment and tooling provided. 

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The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership has now ceased trading and transferred all its functions to Shropshire Council working with Telford & Wrekin Council and Herefordshire Council, in line with the UK Government's plans for devolution.

The Marches LEP was established in 2011 and hands over an impressive legacy from its 13-year life. In that time the LEP invested over £196m in projects across the Marches, securing in excess of £100m of match funding and supported more than 66,000 business interactions.

The schemes supported have made tangible differences to local communities, increasing skills, creating jobs and improving the physical appearance of many towns.

We would like to thank all the LEP Board Members who have given their time freely over the life of the LEP, as well as all the staff who worked for the LEP over the years. We also want to thank our delivery partners, local education providers and local, regional and national stakeholders who helped us achieve so much.

The Marches Growth Hub will continue to support businesses and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford and Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Each of the three Local Authorities will also continue to provide direct business support locally. Details of this support will be available through the Marches Growth Hub website and from the Local Authorities directly. Website: | email:

The Marches Careers Hub will continue to be delivered and will be managed by Shropshire Council, supported by Telford & Wrekin and Herefordshire Councils. Website: | email:

For any queries about Getting Building Fund (GBF), Local Growth Fund (LGF) and Marches Investment Fund (MIF) projects supported by the Marches LEP please contact:

For any finance queries please contact:

The solvent liquidation of the Marches LEP is being managed by the Evelyn Partners Limited. For any matter related to this please contact:

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