CAREERS and training company aspire-igen group is investing £1.5 million in a new regional headquarters in a historic Bradford city centre building.

The move to bring most of its operations under one roof at the former Commerce House on Cheapside will create around 50 jobs.

Chief executive Caroline Harrison said the organisation would start operating from its new base in January following extensive refurbishment of the premises which were officially opened for Bradford Chamber of Commerce in 1929 by the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII.

Aspire-igen, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary, has bought the building from Shipley-based social housing group Incommunities,

It will transfer staff from several offices in Bradford and Leeds while retaining its Laisterdyke premises used for training motor mechanics and construction workers.

As well as a base for delivering careers guidance, vocational training and employability skills, the seven storey City House as it is now known, will see aspire-igen expand its operations.

Three floors will be used by aspire2work Skills Centre offering free training to 16-19 year-olds to gain the vocational qualifications and work experience needed to access a job or further learning.

Plans also include a business incubation area for new and budding entrepreneurs and an events space and training support for SMEs in the former council chamber.

Caroline Harrison, chief executive, said: “I am delighted to be able to share our exciting plans for the future of this wonderful building at last.

“We plan to open a spectacular new Opportunity Centre in January 2017, which will offer an all age careers service to the Bradford district under one roof in the heart of the city centre.

“Here you will find the National Careers Service alongside a wide range of services to young people, schools and colleges, including international careers advice from the UK’s European centre of excellence.

“The scheme will bring around 150 jobs into the heart of Bradford, including 50 new positions. It will also support the regeneration of our city bringing additional footfall to the new Broadway Centre from the hundreds of adults and young people in the building.

“We will be bringing together colleagues from corporate services teams across Yorkshire to create a central administrative team to support all of our work in other delivery centres across the north of England.”