A flagship £7.5 million centre which was expected to provide education skills for teenagers will now be run for businesses by a not-for-profit organisation.
Allia, which will encourage and support the start-up and growth of businesses with an environmental or social mission, was announced today (Wednesday, June 6) as the new provider for the centre which is inside the Posh ground.
The building was originally designed as a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Centre, but in March a planning application was put in to Peterborough City Council to change its use from education to business.
Allia, which refers to the facility it as a Future Business Centre, opened a similar centre in Cambridge 18 months ago and claims to have created new jobs and apprenticeship opportunities.
Opportunity Peterborough will move into the new centre in London Road in June with Lark Energy joining it soon.
The STEM Centre, as it was known, was part of a £9.5 million redevelopment at the Posh ground which included the building of the Moy’s (now Motorpoint) Stand where the centre is housed.
The contract to start the Moy’s End redevelopment was signed in October 2013.
The Department of Education provided £5.5 million of the funding, with the council providing the rest.
The centre was originally expected to deliver vocational training in areas such as electronics and plumbing, with significant changes to national education policies cited as the main reason for changing its primary use from education to business.
The building work on the centre finished in March this year.
Chief executive of Allia, Tim Jones, said: “Peterborough has been enormously successful in creating jobs and has set itself the ambition of creating the UK’s environment capital.
“We believe an Allia Future Business Centre will bring an exciting new dimension to Peterborough’s drive for a sustainable economy and will help its ambition to create even more jobs – especially those in the knowledge economy – whilst developing a skilled workforce equipped for today’s emerging sectors.
“We want Future Business Centre Peterborough to be much more than a building, we want it to be a beacon in the city for entrepreneurship that creates social and environmental impact, promoting business creation and growth and helping people build skills, knowledge and the confidence to develop their business idea.
“We know there are budding social entrepreneurs in Peterborough; we will work closely with the colleges and sixth forms in the city to encourage young people to consider business in these sectors as a possible career path and make use of the centre to develop their employability skills accordingly.
“We hope that our experience and relationships with educators including Cranfield University, Cambridge Judge Business School, UCL, Anglia Ruskin, UCP and Northampton University will bring new opportunities.”
The Future Business Centre has offices and workshops for organisations in the environmental or social sectors.
Steve Bowyer, chief executive of Opportunity Peterborough, said: “The Future Business Centre Peterborough is another fantastic resource for budding social enterprise entrepreneurs in the city.”
Council leader councillor John Holdich said “This city is one of the UK’s fastest growing and most innovative.
“The Future Business Centre Peterborough will become a vital part of the city’s growth. It will encourage innovation and provide an environment where start-ups in emerging sectors can thrive.
“Through the centre’s facilities, operator, collaboration with other partners, programmes and businesses, the city’s young people will be supported to gain the skills and vision they need for a bright future.
“It will also improve the links between our schools and businesses – creating apprenticeships and placements – as well as inspiring the city’s next generation.”