I had a fantastic visit to the STEM centre at Callywith College which is currently under construction. Once completed, the building will include two full-size training wards for students who are taking healthcare and midwifery courses. I am really impressed with how things are going up on the site and I must extend my thanks to Fox Construction who took over the project as they are really doing a fantastic job. it will be amazing once these training wards are completed as they will allow the students to take part in a simulated hospital environment - complete with equipment like an ECG machine. The STEM centre will also allow students to take T-level courses in subjects such as engineering, and the digital field. Having facilities like this in North Cornwall has been an aspiration for me and something I have worked hard to deliver all the way back to when I was on the council, in fact, I can recall voting in favour of the planning application several years ago. This will also help with the recruitment of skilled staff from our local area into our healthcare and dentistry sector, something which we need and will now be able to provide. I am proud to have been part of the process of turning what was a brownfield site ten years ago into one of the UK’s best further education centres. The first STEM students will start their courses this September so if you or your children are interested in applying, please keep an eye on the Callywith College website.
I am very pleased that the Minister has confirmed that two contracts, with a combined value of £36 million, have this week been signed with Cornish broadband supplier, Wildanet, to deliver lightning-fast broadband to around 19,250 rural premises across the county. The contract in North Cornwall will cover rural premises along the north coast up to Otterham. Constituents should be aware that Cornwall will be one of the first counties in the country to benefit from our Project Gigabit work, and I would like to thank the Secretary of State for her commitment to levelling up. By improving connectivity in some of the hardest-to-reach parts of North Cornwall, constituents will have a future-proof internet connection that allows them to start a business, stay in touch with family and friends, and access all the opportunities that technology offers them without being disadvantaged by a rural location.
The announcement follows the publication of BDUK’s autumn update on Project Gigabit, which highlights that the UK has now reached 72% gigabit capable coverage, up from 6% in January 2019. This means we are on track to achieve our commitment to 85% gigabit-capable connectivity by the end of 2025 so that our country benefits from world-class digital infrastructure.