A new centre teaching skills for anyone wanting a job in construction is opening in Edgware as plans for town centre’s massive £1.7 billion regeneration get off the drawing board.

The centre will open in the spring in the former Argos store in Station Road, promising apprenticeships, pre-employment training, ‘green skills’ bootcamps, site management safety and supervisor training courses.

But it is already having an impact even before the official opening, with the building being fitted out to create hands-on training through Barnet Council’s care leavers scheme.

It is also providing work experience for students at Barnet and Southgate College to balance practical, on-site work with their electrical installation courses.

Working on the site cannot be replicated remotely or even in the classroom, the college points out.

The centre is being funded by TfL’s property wing and by the owners of Broadwalk shopping centre, which is in the middle of the redevelopment.

It is the first step in rejuvenating the mixed business and residential area as TfL and Ballymore developers prepare a planning application to Barnet Council for Broadwalk shopping centre and surrounding neighbourhood.

“The rejuvenation ringfences 6,000 jobs for local people,” Barnet Council’s skills programme manager John Bryson said.

“There are also 500 apprenticeships in the pipeline. The centre is a focal point for jobs and apprenticeships in construction.”

The scheme includes 3,400 new homes, a student accommodation complex and 1,400 new jobs.

It also includes a new Deans Brook nature park to the south, on land previously used for rail sidings and inaccessible to the public for almost 100 years.

The skills training facility is running courses in line with employers in the area to make sure the needs of the local jobs market are met.

Lisa-Jane Risk from TfL said: “We’re helping people take the first steps into construction by creating opportunities in the industry.”

TfL’s property arm is financed independently from the transport network to help meet London’s needs for affordable housing, new workspaces and to become more sustainable.

Profits from developments like Edgware town centre are being ploughed back as a dividend to help run public transport.