SOME of the latest "mind blowing" technologies, from 3D printers to virtual reality welding equipment, will be found at a £10 million technology centre being opened by Bradford College in September.

The recently completed Advanced Technology Centre has been built thanks to a grant from the Skills Funding Agency, awarded last year, and is on the former Alexandra Car Park off Great Horton Road.

As well as offering new courses for up to 700 students, the building will also provide space for graduates or start-up companies to make the most of the high-tech building's equipment.

The centre features meeting rooms, common areas and numerous classrooms and IT suites, including one specifically designed for computer design students. But the most interesting part is the technology inside, technology so new that it would seem like science fiction to many people.

Among the pieces on show when the Telegraph & Argus took a tour of the building yesterday were 3D printers that can create items as varied as spanners and phone cases from a spool of plastic or paper, laser cutters that can make engravings in any material, scanners that can help create an exact duplicate of an object and a piece of technology that allows students to learn to weld in virtual reality, without the need for open flames.

With the centre, the college will offer new courses in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Mike Walsh, assistant principle, said: "What we are keen to do is to offer something different, we don't want to replicate what other colleges are offering. It is important to make this offer to aspirational students who want to follow the technical route rather than go on to A levels. It will really help them develop their skills."

He said that as well as the regular baccalaureate, the college is offering its own programmes of study.

Mr Walsh added: "Some of the equipment here is mind blowing. I don't think that there is anywhere else in Bradford that offers this kind of technology in a setting like this. It will be great for the students to learn about this technology, but it will also be great for the staff, as this is new to us too.

"We want to work with schools and have visits in here. Imagine a Year 6 pupil coming in and seeing a 3D printer working, it would be amazing for them."

Work on the building started last year and, along with the nearby David Hockney building which opened last September, the area around the college has been transformed. It is hoped the centre will help Bradford become a leader in high-tech industry.

Among the courses on offer are extended diplomas in health studies, sports and exercise science, games development, a baccalaureate in production arts a technical baccalaureate in civil engineering.

The upper floor of the building includes several "enterprise zones" where former students can use college facilities to continue their research, or where start up companies can find an affordable way to make their first step, without the cost of finding their own premises or equipment.

Two students, who recently graduated from a graphics degree and have now started their own company, have already put in a bid to take space in the enterprise zone.

The large workshop area that contains the high-tech equipment also features a video link station, so students in the workshop can have video conferences with tutors in other buildings, and projectors that allow computer displays to be projected on the workshop walls.

Zaid Bashir, a supervisor at the centre, said: "With this technology you can make things from scratch, straight from your imagination.

"Normally education lags a bit behind industry, but with equipment like this we are just as up to date as industry. With this technology you are only limited by your imagination."

GoPrint3D, a Yorkshire-based company which specialises in 3D printing products, was on hand during the college’s July open day to demonstrate to the public the cutting edge print technology based in the Advanced Technology Centre.

Jo Young, Managing Director, said: “We are so delighted to be helping Bradford College implement their new 3D printers. It’s a fabulous centre and facility for their students, and we hope that by following their example, other universities will consider similar hubs.

"We still can’t possibly comprehend the full extent of the capabilities of 3D printing – the only limits are imagination and constraints of existing knowledge. With the brightest young brains at the helm, the opportunities are endless, and we look forward to working with Bradford College to help realise the facility’s full potential.”

Ben Hawksworth, CEO and Founder of Hawk 3D Proto, based in Cleckheaton, said: "We believe that training students to use 3D Printers and assisting educational partners to do this will be highly beneficial for the student for when move onto industry from the learning environment."

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, executive for education, skills and culture on Bradford College, said: "The building is very impressive. It's great to have this facility in the heart of the city. It will give our young people and businesses access to the latest technology and contribute to our growing reputation as a city for advanced manufacturing and engineering."

Open days for the centre will take place on August 20 and September 26.