A new state-of-the-art dental training and education centre was officially opened by MP Judith Cummins at Bradford College on Friday.
The Bradford South MP cut the ribbon to formally open NORDEC, the Northern Dental Education Centre, which will train apprentice dental nurses and deliver CPD courses to dental professionals from all over the country.
The £500,000 high-spec facility is a joint enterprise between Bradford College and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and is housed in the College’s £10 million Advanced Technology Centre on Randall Well Street in the city centre.
The centre includes a classroom that is set up as a dental surgery and one filled with phantom heads - realistic open-mouthed manikins that give learners the opportunity to practise in close to real-life conditions. The facility also boasts a decontamination suite and space for lectures, conferences and workshops.
Judith Cummins MP said: “NORDEC is a truly wonderful facility. New skills and knowledge will be taught right here that will benefit dental health professionals from far and wide. This facility is no doubt destined to become a centre of national importance.”
Andy Welsh, Chief Executive Officer of Bradford College, said: “We have been providing dental nurse apprenticeships very successfully for many years so have built up strong links with the dental industry. Those links have helped us identify some unmet demand for skills and we established NORDEC in response to those needs.
“We have a growing population which means more people, more mouths and more teeth. This facility is going to be a real boost to skills development in the sector here in Bradford, regionally and nationally.
“Over the next four years we expect to train more than 1,000 staff from the dental industry on short courses; 250 dental nurse advance apprentices; 100 practice manager higher level apprentices and 150 dental technician higher level apprenticeships at foundation degree level.
“This centre has allowed us to update our curriculum making it more relevant to the needs of the sector and respond to the need for higher level and technical skills.
“I must thank the LEP for its support on the project. We couldn’t have done this without its investment and help.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP), said: “Investment in skills is essential if we are to realise the huge potential of the Leeds City Region economy. Facilities like NORDEC not only provide local people with access to better training and careers within a highly skilled and fast-growing industry but also encourage trained professionals from outside the area to visit, train and excel inside the City Region.
“NORDEC will also help cement the Leeds City Region’s reputation as a centre of excellence for healthcare innovation.”
The LEP contribution of £250,000 came from the Growth Deal – a £1 billion package of government investment to accelerate growth and create jobs across the Leeds City Region.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “As the Leader of a city where dental health is an issue, I am fully aware of the need for more trained professionals in the industry. NORDEC will help cater for this locally and nationally while also strengthening Bradford's position as a centre of excellence for healthcare skills training.”
Also at the opening of the centre was the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain, and representatives from the dental and health professions.