College’s new STEM Centre officially opened by Jonathan Dimbleby

College’s new STEM Centre officially opened by Jonathan Dimbleby

BBC presenter also chaired ‘Any Questions?’ live from the College.

Brockenhurst College’s new STEM Centre was officially opened on Friday by the BBC’s Jonathan Dimbleby, who was there to present Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’ as well.

The veteran broadcaster was shown around the high-tech facility by Principal Di Roberts CBE, who pointed out some of the Centre’s key learning innovations prior to the grand opening and his flagship topical debate programme.

Funded largely by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which awarded £3.7m in February 2015, the building is also a result of collaboration between the College, computer giant IBM and the University of Southampton.

It now stands as a unique venue for teaching and learning in science, technology, engineering and maths, which is designed to inspire students to succeed through its highly-integrated learning systems.

Due to the improved learning opportunities, it is hoped that the College can become an even greater force in helping plug STEM-related industry skills gaps across the region.

Before unveiling the plaque on the new facility, Mr Dimbleby said about STEM: “It is hard to think of four interrelated skills that are more important than that, for whatever future we are to have in the decades ahead.”

College Principal Di Roberts CBE said: “This exciting moment marks the realisation of a long-held vision. As Principal, I thank the College’s governors and staff, as well as business leaders and the LEP, for their outstanding contributions.

“Indeed, we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all those who have helped deliver this first-class learning asset, which will no doubt nurture future leaders in STEM-related professions.”

Meanwhile, Dr Mike Short, Chairman of Enterprise M3 LEP, said: “The Enterprise M3 area has world class hi-tech businesses with a high demand for STEM skills.  This demand underpins our strategy to invest £29 million in STEM Centres to develop our future workforce and enable our businesses to remain globally competitive.

“The opening of this STEM Centre at Brockenhurst College, showcases the investment from IBM to develop cutting-edge learning technologies ensuring our young people are ready for their future.”

‘Any Questions?’ began shortly after 8pm with a panel comprising Hilary Benn MP, Anna Soubry MP, newspaper columnist Tim Stanley and Director-General of the CBI Carolyn Fairbairn.

Panellists discussed issues including perceived elitism in top universities, Universal Credit and Brexit.

Also present at the double-event were college staff, governors, members of the Old Students’ Association, local dignitaries and friends of the College.