Work starts on new £121million Defence training college

Defence Minister Andrew Murrison has marked the start of work to transform a former RAF base into a multi-million pound training facility for the Armed Forces.

Dr Murrison took part in a ceremony to celebrate the first phase of construction on the new Defence College of Technical Training at MOD Lyneham in Wiltshire.

The new college will bring together technical training for all three services at one location, making it more efficient and cost effective, and will mean the creation of around 900 construction jobs.

Defence Minister Andrew Murrison said:

“I am delighted to officially mark the first stage of construction work on the new Defence College of Technical Training.

“This new college will ensure our Armed Forces have the best possible training environment with modern accommodation in which to live and learn.

“By co-locating activities for all three services in one place we are not only helping to improve efficiency by reducing the time personnel need to spend in training but also helping to save money for the taxpayer by rationalising the Defence estate.”

In December, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) awarded a £121 million contract to Hercules, a joint venture between Kier Group and Balfour Beatty plc, for Tranche One of the development.

The first phase of work will include the creation of new single living accommodation for 1,194 trainees and staff, purpose-built teaching facilities, a large outdoor training area and a publicly accessible museum for the Army’s Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). Lyneham’s history of repatriation will be preserved and honoured through a memorial dedication, a publicGardenofRemembrance, and an area within the museum.

Phase one of the work is expected be completed by the autumn of 2015, when the first staff and students will arrive at the college.

The former RAF Lyneham closed in December 2012 after all operational flying moved to RAF Brize Norton.

DIO project leader David Holmes said:

“DIO’s aim is to support the Armed Forces by providing what they need to live, work and train. This is the first stage of the construction of the new state-of-the-art college that will offer the best possible training facilities for all three services in a central location.”

Lieutenant General Andrew Gregory CB, Chief of Defence Personnel:

“The Defence College of Technical Training will provide an excellent, tri-service establishment delivering aeronautical, electro-mechanical and communications and information systems training.

“The state of the art facility for our future regular and reserve Armed Forces will benefit from stimulating surroundings, with refurbished accommodation and brand new sports, leisure and welfare facilities, all of which will combine to make this an outstanding living and working environment.”

Commodore David Elford, Commandant of the Defence College of Technical Training, said:

“I am delighted to be able to mark this major milestone in the development of the college. It is tangible evidence of our programme to create a cost-effective and flexible technical training organisation for all three of the Armed Forces providing modern, high quality training to our soldiers, sailors and airmen.”

Richard Collin, Hercules Construction Manager said:

“Hercules is delighted to have been awarded this major tri-services strategic training facilities project. Working with the DIO and the team of services stakeholders, our objective is to provide best value new and refurbished assets employing sustainable construction methods and whole life solutions.

“Hercules’ commitment to sustainability will include our approach to maximising localism in terms of both local procurement and engagement with the local community.”