Protest over skills centre closure plan

Students outside North Halifax Skills Centre.
Students outside North Halifax Skills Centre.

A petition has been started by a passionate student to stop the closure of the North Halifax Skills Centre which has been described as ‘financially unsustainable’.

Nearly 300 people have signed to save the centre at which is part of Calderdale College at the Calderdale Business Park, Club Lane, Ovenden.

David Healey, 19, who is a Level 3 Brick Layer student, studies at the centre which specialises in training people in construction.

Mr Healey said how the local community had rallied round to support his campaign.

“We got told the news a couple weeks ago by our tutors that the centre was closing down in July 2016.

“Once local residents found out they really wanted to get behind us in our campaign as they feel it is a valuable part of their community and they want it to stay open.

“ I was diagnosed with anxiety and then I suffered from agoraphobia but the people at the skills centre really helped me on my way to recovery.”

Building flowerbeds, putting in accessible ramps and taking part in a major renovation works at a cricket club are all things the centre has done for the local community.

Denise Cheng-Carter, Deputy Principal - Finance & Resources at Calderdale College, said: “The demand for training at the North Halifax Skills Centre has continued to decline over the past few years and has resulted in the centre becoming financially unsustainable.

“The College is committed to ensuring that all our current students at the centre are able to successfully complete their studies and that they are given effective information, guidance and support to secure their intended destinations.”

The team based at North Halifax Skills Centre have undertaken some really excellent work and the College remains committed to ensuring students from north Halifax and across the borough continue to have opportunities to enhance their skills and careers in the future. We are keen to work with partner organisations to support this ambition.”

The centre has played host to a number of VIPs including David Cameron who invited the students to number 10.