Willmott Dixon has landed its second major healthcare contract in a week after it was chosen by Bolton College of Medical Sciences (BCMS) for a new medical and clinical skills training facility located at the Royal Bolton Hospital site in Farnworth.

It follows the announcement last Tuesday that MWD Healthcare, an alliance between Mace and Willmott Dixon for the Procure23 framework, had been chosen by University Hospitals Plymouth for the £126m New Urgent and Emergency Care Centre at Derriford in Plymouth.

Procured using the Procure Partnerships framework, BCMS will provide best-in-class training opportunities for healthcare professionals in what is intended as a transformational blueprint for training NHS staff.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council, designed to give people a direct route into clinical healthcare employment, with a focus on practical, skills-based learning in a live hospital environment.

In addition to a range of new courses and apprenticeships that will provide entry-level and higher-level skills development for those aged 16+, BCMS will also deliver continual professional development opportunities for existing NHS staff. Apprenticeship provision will extend to Higher and Degree Apprenticeships, with programmes including Nursing Apprenticeships and Higher Apprenticeships in Care Leadership and Management.

BCMS, allocated £20m by the Levelling Up Fund last year, will deliver training to approximately 3,000 learners each year. Once open, it is expected to contribute £150m to the local economy over its lifetime. As part of the programme, Willmott Dixon will deliver £6m in social value for the community, largely through local employment and supply-chain expenditure.

Professor George E Holmes DL, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said:

“BCMS is arguably one of the most significant projects delivered in the North West in decades. Not only will it increase employment prospects in the local area and make healthcare professions more accessible, but it will also help alleviate NHS staffing pressures in Greater Manchester and provide improved levels of care in our community. It’s brilliant to see the build underway.”

BCMS Project Director and Managing Director of strategic consultancy Just Ask Scarlett, Mark O’Reilly, said:

“After several years in the making, it’s fantastic to see our vision for this trailblazing facility come to life. We’re now well on our way to opening the doors to a facility that will change people’s lives not just here in Bolton, but across the North West.”

Annette Walker, Director of Finance at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Bolton College of Medical Sciences will help us develop our existing staff and provide new routes for those who want a future in healthcare to expand their skills. It really is an exciting project both for us as an organisation, and the whole town.”

Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Adele Warren, said:

“Bolton College of Medical Sciences will be a great asset to our borough, creating jobs and giving residents the opportunity to learn skills and train for a new career. The council is proud to work closely with our partners on this development, one of many key regeneration projects being delivered across the borough.”

Anthony Dillon, Managing Director for Willmott Dixon in the North, said:

“We are proud to continue to play our part in shaping the future of Bolton. BCMS will be built for the people of Bolton by the people of Bolton, and we will work with our local supply chain partners to create sustainable employment opportunities and a lasting positive legacy in this community.”

The project is due to complete in 2024, when the first intake of BCMS learners is due to start.

BCMS further builds on Willmott Dixon’s pedigree of building world class learning facilities within the higher education sector. At the University of Warwick, the company have delivered the award winning Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research Building, further south, in 2020 the company handed over the Kent and Medway Medical School to the University of Kent, providing state-of-the-art medical education and research facilities.