Forty colleges will receive a slice of the government’s £165 million local skills improvement fund.
Grants ranging from £2.4 million to £10 million have been announced to fund new facilities and the development of new courses to meet skills needs identified in new local skills improvement plans (LSIP).
Bids were headed up by a lead college, but had to be supported by other local providers and have the endorsement of the employer representative body, in most cases a chamber of commerce.
The fund is split across two financial years; £80 million was made available for this financial year, split equally between revenue and capital. In 2024-25, £85 million is for capital only.
Bidding opened in May after first being proposed in the FE white paper in January 2021.
DfE approved the largest chunk of funding for Solihull College and University Centre and 19 neighbouring colleges, IoTs and universities. Backed by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, £10.3 million has been awarded to address local skills needs in engineering and manufacturing, green construction and digital.
Wigan and Leigh College and 18 Greater Manchester delivery partners won £8.5 million for projects boosting local skills provision in construction, digital, health and social care, engineering and manufacturing and green skills.
The green skills agenda features across the winning projects.
For example, MidKent College in Kent will use some of its £5 million to build a new training facility for courses teaching retrofit energy efficiency measures, and renewable and sustainable energy solutions.
The new courses will cover a range of areas including thermal imaging, aerial survey and mapping and will utilise virtual reality capabilities to develop simulated engineering challenges, construction processes and techniques, supporting people to gain the skills needed to launch green careers.
Simon Cook, principal and chief executive at MidKent College said: “We’re thrilled that construction and building services businesses across Kent & Medway will benefit from this investment in retrofit technology and training.
“We know from our conversations with employers that growing skills for sustainable construction practices and improving the energy efficiency of existing housing stock are priorities for the sector here in the Southeast.”
“We’re incredibly proud that this new facility will work seamlessly with our Home Energy Centre and Sustainable Construction Skills Factory at the heart of our Maidstone campus, and alongside our own efforts to make the campus carbon neutral by 2030.”
Secretary of state for education Gillian Keegan said: “This investment is about boosting local industries, building people’s skills and ultimately future-proofing our economy and the career prospects of the next generation.”
She added: “Our local skills projects will bring together regional organisations, businesses and education providers to respond to the specific needs of employers, building an increasingly skilled workforce and growing local economies.”
Here’s the full funding list:
Winners of the £165 million local skills improvement fund
|Lead applicant||Funding approved||Area|
|East Durham College||£3,637,178||North East|
|Northumberland College (City of Sunderland College)||£2,500,000||North of Tyne|
|Darlington College||£2,498,970||Tees Valley|
|Cheshire College South & West||£2,500,000||Cheshire and Warrington|
|Wigan & Leigh College||£8,488,967||Greater Manchester|
|The City of Liverpool College||£4,585,513||Liverpool City Region|
|Bishop Burton College||£2,499,999||Hull and East Yorkshire|
|Barnsley College||£4,257,817||South Yorkshire|
|Calderdale College||£6,978,048||West Yorkshire|
|York College||£2,500,000||York and North Yorkshire|
|Nottingham College||£6,604,099||D2N2 (Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire)|
|TEC Partnership||£3,547,293||Greater Lincolnshire|
|Leicester College||£3,067,331||Leicester and Leicestershire|
|Milton Keynes College||£5,208,930||South-East Midlands|
|Newcastle and Stafford Colleges Group||£3,231,734||Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire|
|Telford College||£2,489,864||The Marches|
|Solihull College and University Centre||£10,304,523||West Midlands|
|Kidderminster College (NCG)||£2,451,994||Worcestershire|
|Cambridge Regional College||£2,498,880||Cambridgeshire and Peterborough|
|Harlow College||£5,557,549||Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock|
|West Herts College Group||£3,106,962||Hertfordshire|
|Suffolk New College||£4,754,381||New Anglia (Norfolk and Suffolk)|
|New City College||£6,734,535||Central London Forward|
|London South East Colleges||£6,540,771||Local London|
|South Thames Colleges Group||£1,205,140 |
*The funding for this area is not finalised and is subject to change
|South London Partnership|
|Harrow, Richmond and Uxbridge College||£4,775,102||West London Alliance|
|Chichester College Group||£4,548,009||Brighton and Hove, East Sussex, West Sussex|
|Buckinghamshire College Group||£2,457,409||Buckinghamshire|
|Sparsholt College Hampshire||£5,984,907||Enterprise M3 LEP (including all of Surrey)|
|MidKent College||£5,012,704||Kent and Medway|
|Activate Learning||£2,495,195||Thames Valley Berkshire|
|Truro and Penwith College||£2,500,000||Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly|
|Bournemouth & Poole College||£2,500,000||Dorset|
|South Gloucestershire and Stroud College||£2,500,000||G First (Gloucestershire)|
|Bridgwater & Taunton College||£5,061,145||Heart of the South-West|
|Wiltshire College & Univesity Centre||£2,500,000||Swindon and Wiltshire|
|West of England Institute of Technology||£2,981,196||West of England and North Somerset|