At the latest Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting, £10.5 million of funding was given conditional approval for co-investment in a range of capital projects.
The funding will be used to upgrade to skills training facilities across the area, helping to meet employer demands for skills training by improving the quality of the learning experience and enhancing the job prospects of learners across the City Region.
The funding is part of the Liverpool City Region’s £232 million Growth Deal that was secured by the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) last year. Working together, the City Region will invest the Skills Capital Investment Fund, consisting of £41.1 million across 2015/16 and 2016/17 as an integral part of the overall Growth Deal.
Robert Hough, Chair of Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said “When we bid to Government for Local Growth Funding last year we identified skills as one of our priorities, and I am extremely pleased to see the first tranche of our Growth Deal being allocated to our City Region Colleges. This funding will now enable our educational establishments to enhance and develop their facilities ensuring our future workforce is equipped with the necessary talents and training for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
This award is the first under the scheme (Strand One – Sites and Premises). It will be used by successful Further Education Colleges and other approved training organisations in the region to invest in major capital programmes of work to either improve existing buildings or adapt/build new facilities that will lead to new curriculum areas or innovation in teaching and learning delivery.
Projects submitted within this first round were subjected to a rigorous appraisal process resulting in the Skills Capital Investment Panel (a panel specifically constituted to oversee skills capital investments) presenting their recommendations to the Liverpool Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Combined Authority for approval in June 2015.
Richard Else, Operations Director at Jaguar Land Rover Halewood and Chair, Liverpool City Region Employment and Skills Board, added “I am pleased to see the responses that have been developed by colleges and providers, and how these link to our Skills for Growth priorities. It is important to note that this is just the first round of calls for projects so we are expecting to announce further awards in the coming months.”
The detailed applications approved (subject to a due diligence process) for which funding will be available from July 2015 onwards are:
• Refurbishment works to Wirral Metropolitan College’s 12 Quays Campus to create a Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Centre.
• Refurbishment of the Tony Leigh Building at Southport College. The project will upgrade provision for the following curriculum areas: Engineering and Motor Vehicle, IT and Business Provision and Catering.
• Refurbishment of the City of Liverpool College’s existing Clarence Street campus located in Liverpool City Centre to provide STEM provision with a focus on the Knowledge Economy, SuperPort, Low Carbon and Health and Social Care.
• Refurbishment of Hugh Baird’s Pembroke Centre in Bootle to create a physical hub for the Port Academy, which is a one-stop-shop for SuperPort and related training including engineering, construction, business, law, ICT, science and advanced manufacturing.
The following Expressions of Interest (EOIs) applications were approved “in principle” and will be requested to submit a detailed bid in the Autumn for further appraisal:
• Riverside College – development of a STEM Centre.
• North Liverpool Regeneration Company – development of a “green deal” technology college.
• Maritime and Engineering College North West – refurbishment of engineering facilities.
• Knowsley & St Helens College – development of a northern logistics academy.
Councillor Phil Davies, Chair of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, said “We are committed to ensuring we provide skills training which is aligned to the City Region’s priorities. Through the Skills Capital Investment Fund, we can ensure our establishments offer the best environments and opportunities for learners across the City Region, and ultimately benefitting our businesses who will recruit highly skilled and trained staff.”