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Students trained each year


millions IT will contribute to local ECONOMY


million of levelling up funding

Bolton Institute of Medical Sciences

“First of its kind” facility that's a transformational blueprint for training NHS staff across the country

The Bolton Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) will train 3,000 students a year and contribute as much as £150million to the borough’s economy when open in autumn 2024.

The flagship facility sciences at the Royal Bolton Hospital is a “trailblazing facility that will change people’s lives not just here in Bolton, but across the North West.”

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust finance Annette Walker chief said, “This will help us develop our existing staff and provide new routes for those who want a future in healthcare to expand their skills.”

Subject to General Medical Council approval, the five-storey state-of-the-art building will become a medical school and home to student doctors from September 2025. It will contain high-tech facilities, including simulation suites designed to recreate various healthcare delivery scenarios.

University of Bolton Institute of Medical Sciences exterior 4.jpg

Supporting a new generation of NHS skills

Standing in the grounds of the Royal Bolton Hospital in Farnworth, it will accommodate students studying subjects including physiotherapy, nursing and midwifery. As well as training 3,000 learners per year, it will provide Continuing Professional Development opportunities for existing NHS staff at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and other local healthcare facilities.

In addition to a range of new courses and apprenticeships, the college will also deliver continual professional development opportunities for existing NHS people.

A collaborative project between the University of Bolton, Bolton College, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust and Bolton Council, it gives 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+, IMS 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.

Levelling Up

The Institute of Medical Sciences project received £20m from the Levelling Up Fund (LUF) in 2021, making it one of the biggest LUF grants for any skills and employment project in the UK. The University of Bolton also provided £20m, bringing the total cost of the facility’s construction to £40m.

Supporting local skills

Our work has generated a total of £13.3m of supply-chain expenditure within a 20-mile radius since building work began - double the target.

We also created 28 new jobs, 13 of which were filled by Bolton residents. This included working to provide jobs for students, in collaboration with Bolton College and the University of Bolton, with students from various construction-related disciplines, such as site management, bricklaying, joinery and painting and decorating, working alongside our team during the construction process.

Jake Hough.jpg

One example was 17-year-old Jake Hough (above), who was the first apprentice from Bolton College. Studying for a Level 4 Site Supervisor Apprenticeship, Jake completed one year of his apprenticeship on the site before transitioning to another Willmott Dixon project to ensure sustained employment throughout the course of the apprenticeship. Jake lives locally to Bolton and is one of many local residents contributing towards the construction of the project.

Jake said:

“Onsite experience is the best way to learn in my opinion. The most exciting part of the IMS build for me is the modern technology used throughout the building. The technology that is being used just fascinates me. I also feel privileged to work on a project that will have such a great impact on the local community and the world of teaching.”

Jake will be joined on-site by trade students at Bolton College who will complete their required work placements at IMS, in disciplines including plumbing, plastering, electrics and brickwork. Opportunities also extend to degree students at the University of Bolton too with our team providing a three-month paid internship over the summer of 2023 to a construction graduate.

In addition to our work with students in Bolton, we have partnered with homelessness charity Emmaus, which works across Greater Manchester to help people who have been homeless by providing them with a home and meaningful work. One person has already secured a short-term working trial on BCMS through this partnership.

Read more here about our work to upskill local young people.

What people are saying:

Professor George E Holmes DL, Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Greater Manchester:

“It is incredibly rewarding for us at the University to witness our flagship facility reach this important milestone of practical completion. It is a privilege to be home to one of the nation’s leading clinical skills facilities here in Greater Manchester and this is a key step in our aim to become a national centre of excellence for health.”

Mark O’Reilly, Project Director:

“To see the project come to life over the last few years since construction began has been remarkable. I have been working with the University on the IMS project since we were aiming to achieve planning permission, and it is brilliant to have today reached practical completion. Working so closely alongside key stakeholders like Willmott Dixon, the University of Bolton, Bolton NHS FT, Bolton Council, as well as the Levelling Up Fund, it has been great to see the vital work done by so many to deliver a facility like IMS, right here in Bolton.”

Professor George E Holmes, University of Bolton President and Vice-Chancellor:

“IMS 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."

Natalie Palframan, Key Account Manager at Procure Partnerships Framework:

“We are delighted to see Bolton Institute of Medical Sciences has reached practical completion. The new centre will have a transformative impact on Greater Manchester’s clinical facilities as well as its local economy and we are delighted to have been involved.”

A leader for constructing facilities

This is Willmott Dixon’s latest big, high profile healthcare project that supports the NHS both locally and nationally. Recently we handed over Dorset County Hospital’s expanded emergency department and are currently working on similar facilities at Luton & Dunstable. Likewise, Willmott Dixon Interiors assembled modular solution adds extra capacity for A&E department at Royal Sussex County Hospital.


  • Template for future NHS training
  • Built at Royal Bolton Hospital
  • Possible through £20m Levelling Up grant




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