A GROUNDBREAKING development is about to be unveiled at Cronton Sixth Form College in Widnes.

The Idea centre (innovation, digital, engineering and applications) opens next month and will prepare sixth formers for university and the modern workplace.

The state-of-the-art building is part of a £9 million investment at the Cronton Lane site and will offer the most advanced industry equipment and learning methods.

Students on courses ranging from science and engineering to sport, IT, business and health will have the opportunity to work alongside local and national companies.

Learning will have a strong focus on industry and give young people the chance to update their skills to gain employment in today’s challenging job market.

The latest digital fabrication equipment for prototyping, such as 3D printers will be available.

Computer science and computer programming, virtual reality technologies, robotics, pneumatic and hydraulic systems are among the pioneering facilities.

Students from all subject areas will collaborate on project ideas, produce design concepts and develop prototype products.

It is hoped that this will encourage more team building and interaction.

Halton MP Derek Twigg, Halton Council leader Cllr Rob Polhill and Labour MP for Walton Steve Rotheram, metro mayor candidate for Liverpool City Region were given a sneak preview of the innovative centre.

They met students and staff at Riverside College’s two campuses at Cronton and Kingsway.

The tour was arranged to discuss the skills agenda and show visitors the wide range of courses that are available.

Apprentices who are working at companies including Getrag Ford Transmissions, Hutchinson Engineering and Howdens Joinery spoke about their job hopes.

Government and politics students asked the politicians questions about Brexit and the forthcoming mayoral election.

Budding chefs, hairdressers, beauticians and health and social carers talked about the careers they hoped to follow.

Trainees demonstrated their techniques at a new £3.6 million engineering and construction skills centre.

Steve Rotherham, a former brick layer himself, put his own skills to the test.

He said: “Riverside College is such a forward thinking college with a diverse range of courses and opportunities for the students who you know will do well in life whatever career path they take.”