Further education colleges will receive funding boost to ‘build back better’ and kick-start work to upgrade their buildings and estates
More than 180 colleges will receive a share of £200 million to begin immediate work from this September to repair and refurbish buildings and campuses so they continue to be great places to learn for the local communities they serve, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced today (19 August).
The funding marks the latest step in the government’s drive to overhaul further education and deliver the skilled workforce employers and the economy need, and that will help level up skills and opportunities for more people across the country.
The cash boost forms part of a major £1.5bn investment that will transform colleges over the next 5 years. This initial investment is being fast-tracked so colleges can kick-start work this year and so students and staff will benefit a least a year earlier than originally planned.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
We want to build a world class further education system which delivers for the whole nation, and a key part of this is ensuring colleges are fit for the future - with better facilities and brand-new buildings.
It is brilliant news that more than 180 colleges will receive a share of £200 million so they can start immediate work to renovate buildings and facilities, with further funding being invested over the next 5 years.
We want all students to continue to receive high-quality education and training, no matter where they grow up or what college they go to. Now more than ever, it is vital that colleges can support their students to gain the skills they need to progress and help the economy to recover and grow.
David Hughes, Chief Executive of The Association of Colleges said:
Colleges will be pleased to see their individual allocations as they prepare to provide training, skills and education to over 2 million young people and adults next year. It will help them provide the facilities, advice, support, and high quality teaching they deserve and need.
This capital resource, for bringing building and digital infrastructure up to date is important but they will need to move quickly to spend this money. The college condition survey confirms that there has been underinvestment in the college estate in recent years so it is good news that the Treasury has allocated money for a five year programme to put this right and to ensure that future students and apprentices learn and train in world-leading environments.
The funding comes ahead of the publication of a White Paper this autumn setting out plans to build a high-quality further education system that will provide the skills that individuals, employers and the economy need to grow and thrive.
Work is already underway to transform technical and vocational education and training in this country, including the introduction of new T Levels from September – high-quality technical courses equivalent to three A levels - and working with employers to create more apprenticeship opportunities.
The government is also establishing a network of twenty Institutes of Technology. These are collaborations between universities, FE colleges, and leading employers. They specialise in delivering high-quality higher technical education and training in STEM subjects, such as digital, advanced manufacturing and engineering. Backed by up to £290 million in capital funding to help provide cutting-edge industry standard facilities and kit, they will help deliver the skilled workforce employer need.
Later this year, the government will launch a 2nd competition to ensure that all parts of England is covered by Institutes of Technology, so everyone has the chance to gain higher technical skills and help unlock growth across the country.