The Grade II Listed Standard Works in Vittoria Street which has stood empty for over 20 years is being given a new lease of life as a Further Education College for students with special educational needs and on Monday 8th of September it opened its doors to its first intake of local students.
They will be developing their talents in trades and crafts such as catering, horticulture and jewellery-making, in addition to English, maths and IT.
To be known as ‘Argent College’, the new facility is the first stage of an ambitious, multi-million pound renovation programme that will ultimately include a café, bakery, performance and gallery spaces, craft workshops and independence-training flat.
In partnership with Birmingham City Council, Argent aims to build on the success of Glasshouse College in Stourbridge and other facilities managed by Ruskin Mill Trust, a charity with thirty years’ experience developing pioneering and collaborative approaches to special education and community regeneration.
In homage to the Quarter’s illustrious metal-working heritage, staff, students and visitors spent their first Monday morning beating-out a silver bowl under the expert direction of silversmith Kevin Grey. In the afternoon, Director of Operations Elisabeth Johnson and student Michael cut a ribbon to announce that, whilst a great deal remains to be done, Argent College is very much open for business.
A more formal opening-ceremony is scheduled for late-October.