A PLAN to turn a former mental health centre in the heart of Salisbury into a food training hub will help grow the industry in the north and provide hundreds of jobs, the organisation behind the development says. Registered training organisation Independent Institute of Food Processing submitted plans with Salisbury Council last month to turn the building, on the corner of John and Ann streets, into a training base for agriculture, butchery, food safety, forklift driving, animal welfare, horticulture and baristas. The institute’s chief executive Stephan Knoll said the project would provide a boost to the north.
He said up to 50 students would study at the new hub at anyone time. A commercial cafe would also operate at the centre, providing onthe-job training.
Construction would start in the second half of this year, if its approved. “As a training organisation we work a lot with industry,” Mr Knoll said.
“Our building will be a focal point for training in the food industry and having a base in the north that is central is a fantastic opportunity.”
The centre would also have links with the institute’s Kersbrook training property and buses would take agriculture students to and from the classroom. Food SA chief executive officer Catherine Barnett backed the plan.
“My view is the northern suburbs in particular have a strong food processing focus and having any training facility close to industry is a great thing,” she said.
Salisbury Mayor Gillian Aldridge supported the development and welcomed extra training opportunities for residents.
She also said the council was hopeful of flow-on development opportunities to help kickstart the city centre renewal project.
“Food production and preparation is a growing industry so anything that helps locals get jobs is a fantastic outcome,” Ms Aldridge said.
Salisbury Town Centre Association chief executive Chris McDonald said the development would help more young people in the region become “job ready”.
“Any growth opportunity centred on education so near to the TAFE campus in Wiltshire St is a smart decision,” Mr McDonald said.
“It will only add to the diversity of the town centre and it is a great thing.
“One thing employers want is someone who is relatively job ready and having people training in the town centre will mean they’ll have a greater opportunity to secure jobs at cafes and pubs.”