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New funding rules mean colleges must become environmentally friendly

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Colleges must now include green proposals in their architectural designs to win future Learning and Skills Council funding, it was announced recently.

Bill Rammell MP, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education announced the criteria at the launch of the new LSC prospectus, following Government investment of £750 million annually into rebuilding the entire further education estate.

Further, colleges and other providers will be encouraged to make their buildings more eco-friendly, efficient and cost effective, with designs incorporating reusable energy sources such as wind and solar power.

Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC said: “One of our main priorities between now and 2010-11 is to maximise the scale of FE development, making world-class, 21st century facilities available to all learners. Our aim is to make England’s FE estate a world leader ““ so that learning is delivered in innovative, energy efficient and inspirational buildings”.

“Students will be more responsive, attentive and enthusiastic in bright, airy and stimulating “state of the art” learning environments. External research has shown that capital expenditure impacts positively on participation and attainment for both 16-19 year olds and adults. In 2003, the £300 million that we spent on capital investment was linked to a three per cent increase in participation and success rates”.

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Colleges and other qualifying providers will now be strongly encouraged to embed “principles of sustainability” in the design of their buildings and building systems. This is part of the Government’s commitment to making FE buildings more eco-friendly, efficient and cost-effective. Colleges will also need to maximise the use of natural lighting and ventilation by, for example, using wind and solar power to generate light and heat and collect and re-use rainwater to reduce water usage, building on the LSC’s 2005 strategy “From here to Sustainability”.

Bill Rammell MP added: “The massive capital investment we are making will enable us to take forward the recommendations, and to create a world class training infrastructure, creating a more dynamic FE sector, providing a more diverse and specialised offer to employers, young people and adult learners”.

“This is a very exciting time for FE ““ and a once in a generation opportunity to build the colleges of the future, now”.

Natalie Cheers.

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