The principal of Dundee and Angus College wants to create a “skills revolution” by opening a new campus on the site of the city’s Michelin factory.
Grant Ritchie said the centre would act as a replacement for the college’s Kingsway Campus and specialise in science, technology and manufacturing.
He said the Baldovie site is large enough to accommodate the college and other business, including Michelin, if they retain some operations in the city. It could then collaborate on training.
Addressing First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and economy minister Derek Mackay at the 21st meeting of the Scottish Economic Forum, Mr Ritchie said he visited Michelin last week to discuss retraining opportunities with staff.
He said: “Our Kingsway campus is a couple of miles along the road from Michelin, it’s an old ’70s concrete and glass structure that’s beginning to fall part.
“What I’d like to do is rebuild it in the Michelin complex as a catalyst for a skills-based revolution, build a regional STEM centre that could bring young people through, show them attractive careers and cluster businesses around that.
“It could really act as a regeneration point; regeneration around advance manufacturing, linking businesses directly into the skills system. There’s an opportunity.”
Derek Mackay, Scottish Government finance minister, said: “On the Michelin site, we will work with all and any partners to get the best possible outcome for that site.
“Of course we’re working in partnership with the trade unions, the council and the company but I think we all really appreciate the offer to take forward discussions about what the future could look like for that site.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the proposition should be “fed into” the work of the Michelin Action Group,which meets again on Monday afternoon.
She added: “We’ve set two objectives for the action group, firstly to look if there’s a anything can be done to continue manufacturing there.
“Secondly — given the market conditions that led to the announcement the second route is it is perhaps the more realistic — is how do we re-purpose the site to create employment and attract different people?
“Your proposition may well fit in well within that so I’d encourage some further discussions so it is being fully considered.”
Both Ms Sturgeon and Mr Mackay said they are optimistic about Michelin retaining a presence in Dundee.
Ms Sturgeon said: “Finding a way forward for the plant will not be easy but nevertheless we agreed that it is important that we try to make sure that we explore every option.
“In the case of Michelin, none of us can guarantee success and it would be wrong to give workers a false expectation but we can promise that we will do everything we possibly can and I think there is reason to have a degree of optimism about the future of that site and about the future of those who work in that site.”
Michelin has announced plans to cease production at the site, which employs 845 people, blaming a reduction in the market for premium smaller tyres due to a rise in cheap imports from Asia and a shift to larger car tyres.
Mr Mackay said he expected the Working Group to present him with its finished proposals for the site by the end of the week. He will then put this business plan for the factory to Michelin bosses.