A GROUNDBREAKING venture described as Cornwall’s largest employment space project in decades could bring as many as 1,200 jobs to the Camborne, Pool and Redruth area, its supporters have revealed.
The Fibre Park Digital Academy would be built on a redundant part of Cornwall College’s Camborne campus and create 150,000 square feet of mixed-use space, bringing education and business closer together.
Funding is now being sought for the project, a collaboration between software development outsourcing company Headforwards and Cornwall College.
The space would have access to “hyperfast” internet connectivity providing next-generation speeds of 10Gbps or more, allowing new products designed at the park to have a global reach.
Industry group Software Cornwall has been regularly consulted during the development to ensure the workspace will provide what the industry needs. It is hoped the project will help existing businesses grow, foster start-ups and increase investment from companies looking to relocate.
The academy also aims to equip thousands of students with skills for their future, as well as creating an innovative food technology presence.
Headforwards boss Toby Parkins said if everything went to plan, the site could open in 2019.
“The complex is being designed to provide an innovative environment for businesses working in the fields of software, food technology, e-health and e-wellbeing and smart energy,” he said. “These knowledge-based industries have a digital element within their future development.
“The opportunity to create social change in the heart of Cornwall through working with schools and colleges is a primary outcome of the project. The Camborne-Pool-Redruth area has been one of the mostin Europe and the project is designed to facilitate a long-term change for the area by deeply rooting education at the core.
“The facility at Cornwall College will provide a central core of futuristic inspiration for every youngin the area, from primary, through secondary and college, apprenticeship and degree stages. The working title, Fibre Park Digital Academy, reflects the importance of ensuring education is a critical part of future business activity.”
Raoul Humphreys, deputy chief executive of the Cornwall College Group, said the visionary project showed how the organisation was a catalyst for skills across the region.
Simon Gill, from Property Services Group, which has expressed interest in the space, said: “As the owner of one established business and two start-ups, we’ve been looking for suitable premises to grow into for some years.
“The Fibre Park Digital Academy represents an amazing opportunity for us and other local businesses to secure bespoke office space with state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and productive shared spaces. This will make us more efficient in how we work, enhance collaborative opportunities, support anticipated growth plans and help us recruit and retain great employees from the local area.”
Paul Massey, director of Bluefruit Software, said it had doubled in size every two years since starting out in 2000, having to move regularly and now employing 34 people at the Gateway Business Centre in Barncoose.
where the prestige of being in a modern, high-spec building has had clear benefits to the business both in attracting great clients and in attracting great people.
“We do a lot of work to develop raw talent, including outreach programmes with schools, Easter schools with colleges and summer schools for graduates,” he said. “A goal in our business plan is to recruit half of our talent through our ‘grow our own’ programmes.
“The Fibre Park Academy provides a unique opportunity to develop the key ingredients to our growth. This will result in us creating many more high-earning jobs in Cornwall, while maximising the opportunities for these roles to be filled by Cornish people.”