Secretary of State urges colleges to bid for Towns Fund

The Secretary of State, Gavin Williamson has written to colleges this week asking them to engage with the Government’s £1.6 billion Stronger Towns Fund in their area.

To support investment in further education and support regeneration of towns, proposals that highlight upskilling, connectivity and collaboration are particularly welcome.

Colleges work hard to meet the challenges that local people and businesses face. There is amazing work happening across the country already, but the Towns Fund could help propel many initiatives into bigger plans and provide much needed funding streams for vital work.

Towns Deal Boards can provide up to £25 million in each place. With skills a particular focus for the government, colleges have the opportunity to play a big role in utilising this money.

When considering your bid, the DfE have said they are looking for contributions that:

  • Identify skills challenges that local people face and coordinate strategies for how people can be supported locally to meet labour market needs;
  • Support collaboration between businesses large and small and local colleges to ensure that local businesses can access the skills they need to thrive;
  • Support participation in FE from across the local community;
  • Incentivise employers to invest in the area, by providing the facilities they need to upskill their workforce.

Chief Executive David Hughes said:

“There is a real opportunity through the Towns Fund to focus on technical and vocational education, boost productivity and ensure the country has the skilled workforce necessary to maintain economic success.

To make sure that every person, in every community has the skills and opportunities they need to get on I encourage all colleges to engage with their local authority and put forward initiatives.”

 AoC is working with the Department for Education and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to deliver some events that provide further information on the Towns Fund; these will be held in Spring. Further guidance will also be issued later this year from DfE.

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