Plymouth tourism and sport school plan next to Home Park
LAND next to Plymouth Argyle's stadium is being earmarked as the potential site of a new £2.5million tourism and leisure school.
City College Plymouth has asked the Government for permission to build the new-concept Studio School, for youngsters aged 14 to 19, on land to the east of Home Park.
The exact site and building design have not yet been decided, but, if permission is given, it will go on land provided by Argyle chairman James Brent's Akkeron Group hotel firm, and is expected to be a two-storey, 3,000sq metre block. Akkeron is a college partner in the project, alongside Argyle and UCP Marjon.
Officials at the Department for Education are likely to interview college chiefs by March, and will decide whether to back and finance the project by June.
If they give the nod, college staff will proceed with a view to having the school ready by September 2014.
Once open, it will employ 20 people and accommodate 300 students with courses tailored to careers in leisure, sport, retail and tourism, including catering, hospitality and customer services.
The idea is for students to learn via enterprise projects, during a 9am to 5pm school day, and spending two days a week on paid work placements.
They will study the national curriculum but also specialise, being "coached" rather than taught, in a bid to address a growing skills gap which employers in tourism and leisure are anxious to fill.
College principal Phil Davies said that by rooting learning in "the real world" and developing students' transferable skills they will be ideally suited to work in a priority employment growth sector.
He said the proposal is also timely given the city's redevelopment projects. the promotion of Plymouth as a visitor destination and a potential UK city of culture.
The school, run as a Government-funded academy, would complement the manufacturing-focussed University Technical College Plymouth, due to open in September at Devonport, and Plymouth College of Art's proposed creative free school at Millbay.
Mr Davies said: "At the heart of this new venture will be the essential link between education and skills, and enterprise, entrepreneurship and employment."