Page last updated at 11:48 GMT, Tuesday, 10 February 2009

12bn military academy 'on track'


A new partner for a planned military academy has been signed up

The consortium behind plans to build a multi-billion pound defence academy says the project is back on track after a new partner signed up.

The contract to build and run training facilities at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan is worth 12bn and could create thousands of jobs at the base.

One half of the Metrix Consortium - Land Securities Trillium (LST) - pulled out just before Christmas.

Now a company called Sodexo has been signed up as a new partner.

The Metrix Consortium will now be made up of a 50-50 joint venture between Qinetiq, which will look after the training, and Sodexo, which will look after the property.

'No disruption'

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced two years ago that it was to train servicemen and women at the academy.

The academy will be the largest vocational training facility in the country and will deliver specialist technical training to the three armed services at a purpose-built site at St Athan.

Sodexo logo
The 25-year training contract for the Army, RAF and Navy would be worth 12bn
Around 1,200 different courses would be offered
Sodexo employs 355,000 people in 80 countries and is involved in 17 private finance initiative projects across the defence, health, education and justice sectors
It also has expertise in facilities management and catering
The company was founded in France in 1966, following a previous family firm's long history of catering for luxury ships

Construction is expected to start in the autumn of 2010, and the facility is expected to be opened at the beginning of 2014.

It is understood around 1,500 jobs could be created during the building work, with another 5,000 posts expected at the base once it is up and running.

Charles Barrington, chairman of Metrix UK, said the consortium was "delighted" that Sodexo has decided to take up LST's position, ensuring there is no disruption to the project.

On its website, Sodexo says it manages services to the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in over 80 locations across the UK, Cyprus, Falkand Islands and Ascension Islands.

It said: "We are intent on providing a safe and comfortable environment, in which our customers can live and work happily.

"For example, at RAF High Wycombe, we provide engineering, transport maintenance, fire, crash and rescue services and catering support for 2,500 military personnel and 1,500 civil servants across three sites."

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