HRH the Duchess of Cornwall has launched a pioneering £9m development project at Wiltshire College & University Centre’s Lackham campus.
Her Royal Highness was shown plans which aim to transform the campus into a regional training centre of land-based excellence.
She was hosted by college principal Amanda Burnside and distinguished guests such as Sarah Rose Troughton, the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire, and Baroness Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council.
During the visit, the Duchess met students and staff, oversaw a speedy tractor build, toured the animal science laboratories and witnessed cutting-edge technology in the form of a driverless tractor.
“It was a wonderful occasion and we are delighted Her Royal Highness was able to come and launch the campus development project,” said Ms Burnside.
“She spoke to lots of our students during the visit and showed a genuine interest in the excellent work we are doing at this campus, and also what we are planning to do here in the future.
“Lackham already has an excellent reputation in teaching quality. The investment in the campus and farm will elevate our position as a real leader in agricultural training in the region and beyond.”
The college was awarded £22m of government Local Growth Fund money via the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) in 2017 to invest in both its Salisbury and Lackham campuses.
Plans include a new Agricultural Technology Centre, a hi-tech robotic milking parlour and dairy training buildings. The Grade 2 listed Lackham House will also be refurbished to become a higher education centre for degree level students. Work on both campuses will be completed by 2021.
In August this year the college,which has 13,000 students, was granted University Centre status in recognition of its higher education offering and is now known as Wiltshire College & University Centre. It has four main campuses in Trowbridge, Chippenham, Salisbury and Lackham, with a fifth, smaller, campus at the Castle Combe racetrack.