WEYMOUTH College is to receive £250,000 in funding to build a centre of excellence in motor vehicle technology.

It is one of three projects in the county being funded by the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

A spokesman for the LEP said of the college scheme: “Weymouth College will build and launch ‘The Centre of Excellence for Motor Vehicle Technology’.

“This is a transformational project aimed at future-proofing Weymouth College’s advanced Motor Vehicle workshop space and develop hybrid and fully-electric vehicle facilities.”

The funds are being provided through the government’s Local Growth Fund which has aimed to bring together local, national and private sector funding to unlock key housing and employment sites, create more highly skilled jobs, and support economic growth.

Lorna Carver, Dorset LEP Director, said: “I am excited to announce these three new projects which will increase our productivity and create future opportunities for Dorset businesses.”

Up to £1 million will be allocated to fund the ‘5G Digital Testbed’ project. The venture aims to implement a world first in 5G mobile deployment in a ‘real world’ environment. The economic benefit of developing and actioning a 5G/Smart Place programme across Dorset is significant. Investors have forecast that between £50-100 million of technology investment could be deployed across Dorset in the next three years.

Stewarts Garden Centre, Wimborne, will be awarded £297,000 to start work on an agri-tech plant production and educational facility. The ‘Stewarts Agri-Tech Glasshouse’ project will provide the garden centre in Broomhill with a growing facility which has varied heating zones, low carbon technology and a base for horticultural education.LEP says it will enable the nursery to deliver growth, both in terms of productivity and employees, be competitive in the market and provide knowledge exchange with a variety of stakeholders such as Kingston Maurward College.

Jim Stewart, Dorset LEP Chairman, added: “The launch of these new projects show that Dorset LEP is ambitious and forward thinking. 5G, agriculture and automotive technology are exciting sectors which have the potential to improve Dorset’s economy and skills.”

Established in 2011, Dorset LEP is a private sector-led organisation responsible for speaking on behalf of businesses, championing important issues with government and ultimately driving the economic growth of Dorset. The LEP is responsible for setting the strategic direction for the Dorset economy and controlling an investment programme of around £250m. Working in partnership with local government, businesses, educational institutions and other public, private and community sector organisations, it aims to keep Dorset firmly on the map.

Led by an experienced board of public and private sector members, its aim is  to make Dorset 'the best place to do business in the UK by putting in place the building blocks to drive productivity in Dorset'.