A NEW partnership has been launched at Riverside College’s £3.6 million Engineering and Construction Skills Centre.

The Bell Decorating Academy is the only one of its kind in the north west and aims to create exciting career opportunities for painting and decorating students.

Bell Group tradesmen have pledged to provide specialised masterclasses, work experience placements and give students first preference on their apprenticeships.

Free painting and decorating materials and equipment are also being supplied by the company to help trainees learn their craft in the classroom.

Darren Moore, head of construction of Riverside College, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our painting and decorating students to kick start their career in the industry.

“The masterclasses will give our students that extra special experience that no other college in the north west will be able to offer.”

Bell Group experts including national community investment manager, Anna Higham, national training and development manager Julie Lawrenson, branch manager Rich Abbotts, apprentice manager Andy Tweedale and contracts manager Ken Worsnip spoke to students and staff about about the exciting new opportunities the partnership will provide.

Jayne Smith, head of skills and enterprise at Riverside College, said: “We were thrilled when Bell Group asked us to be the only college to partner them in the north west.

“Construction has been identified as a growth sector across the Liverpool City Region, particularly with the investment in housing and the subsequent need for painting and decorating skills.

“We therefore look forward to working with Bell Group and developing programmes that reflect the skills employers’ value alongside work experience opportunities and master classes provided by the trade experts.

“This will give our students exceptional opportunities to secure apprenticeships and progress into employment.”