Partners in the UK’s first construction management simulation training centre marked the completion of the first stage of the building process by lighting a Christmas tree at the highest point of the building’s steel frame.

The multi-million pound ACT-UK Simulation Centre based on Cheetah Road in Coventry will be where the next generation of engineers and builders hone their leadership skills.

The ground-breaking centre, located in Coventry University Technology Park, will take practical training to a new dimension by introducing a pioneering form of simulation training using highly-skilled actors and a virtual reality auditorium which comprises a 16-metre, curved widescreen.

A 4-D simulation projected onto the screen enables trainees to navigate through every aspect of a building project recorded from real life.

Representatives from Advantage West Midlands, Midlands contractor Shaylor Construction, Coventry University, professional bodies and industry, gathered under the huge frame for the topping out ceremony.

Michiel Schrijver, managing director of ACT-UK Ltd said: “ACT-UK Simulation Centre will spark a revolution in the way the construction industry’s leaders and managers are developed.

“As this steel frame goes up we are delighted to announce that we have already sold nearly 800 course days. Twelve companies are discussing forming partnerships with us and we are currently in negotiations with four of them.”

Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands is contributing £6.6?million towards the simulation centre in partnership with Coventry University and ACT-UK. Work should be completed next July.

Agency funding has levered in a further £2.1?million to the project, from Coventry University Enterprises Ltd, Learning and Skills Council Coventry and Warwickshire and private sector investors in the company established to operate the centre – ACT-UK Ltd.

Advantage West Midlands partnership director Henriette Lyttle-Breukelaar said the main strength of the project was the fact it was industry-led.