Press release

Engineering at the heart of multi-million college investment

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Colleges are set to invest millions in building modern facilities after 2 further rounds of government capital investment unlocked £488 million.

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More than 50 colleges throughout the country are set to invest millions in building modern facilities after 2 further rounds of government capital investment unlocked £488 million.

Many of the successful colleges will use this money to build state of the art science and engineering facilities to provide training for the next generation of engineers.

The government is targeting those in the greatest need of help and those that can best support growth in the economy by investing £232.7 million in colleges, matched with more than £250 million investment from colleges themselves.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

Boosting the quality and availability of training is fundamental to building a stronger economy, with skilled jobs spread across all regions of the UK.

Our commitment to support modern, well-equipped colleges and training centres to train the next generation sits alongside the government’s industrial strategy giving business the confidence to invest in the long-term.

For Britain to compete, and for everyone to reach their potential, we need the very best training centres, staffed with the very best trainers. This is why I can confirm that a further £330 million will also be available for skills capital investment through the Local Growth Fund in 2016-17 in order to support local priorities.

This investment, along with these 50 or so new college capital projects takes total government capital investment in FE colleges since May 2010 to over £1.5 billion.

Projects being funded include Dudley College’s new engineering and advanced manufacturing workshops, Leeds City College centre for mechanical engineering and Runshaw College’s industry standard engineering and science facilities.

This investment in college estates forms the third and fourth rounds of the College Capital Investment Fund (CCIF), through which £550 million is being made available between 2013 and 2015.

The focus on engineering, science and manufacturing is shown by:

  • Dudley College’s £1.7million in Dudley Enhance, which includes a workshop and lecture theatre for engineering and advanced manufacturing programmes. These facilities are a response to increased demand for engineering and manufacturing
  • almost £10 million of investment at Leeds City College to build a new home for engineering, manufacturing and electrical provision. This development will address higher level skills shortages in mechanical engineering in the area
  • Runshaw College’s project to build new training facilities for engineering and science. This project has been designed in response to the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership’s strategy to meet a need for engineers in the county
  • a centre for engineering excellence and creative digital facilities at North Lindsey College, which with £12 million investment will provide state of the art industry standard equipment and technology

Many more projects will develop substandard facilities, providing top of the range vocational education colleges which will help increase the value and relevance of England’s colleges.

Notes to Editors

1.The colleges that have been selected to receive funding in rounds 3 and 4 can be found in the attached documents.

2.CCIF was confirmed in December 2012 through the Autumn Statement, the Skills Funding Statement and the College Capital Investment Strategy. Since the Autumn Statement 2012 more than £324 million has been allocated to FE colleges across England enabling projects valued at over £680 million.

3.In December 2012 the government published the new FE Capital Investment Strategy which set out the rationale for the creation of a £550 million investment programme targeted at colleges:

  • 800,000 learners in England are currently learning in sub-standard buildings
  • every £1 million of capital expenditure increases participation by between approximately 62 and 86 learners per year
  • a £5 million college refurbishment project could typically employ around 60 people and could increase to as much as 600 jobs for a £20 million college relocation
  • annual maintenance costs for the worst colleges are 34% higher than the best

4.The Skills Funding Agency (the Agency) is responsible for the delivery of the Capital and College Investment Fund (CCIF) which was launched in December 2012 following the publication of the FE College Capital Investment Strategy (December 2012).

5.The CCIF criteria, which are based upon priorities set by Ministers, were developed with input from college sector representatives. The approved projects were chosen in a robust assessment and moderation process, conducted by the Skills Funding Agency and supported and endorsed by the AoC.

6.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

Published 20 November 2013