From education to employment

Architects win £5,000 for designing an inspirational environment

The designers of a sixth form college which creates a “feel-good factor” for learners and staff have scooped top prize in a competition celebrating world-class design in the FE sector.

Walker Simpson, the architects of the North Manchester Sixth Form College (MANCAT), were awarded £5,000 by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) this week.

The architects were commended for designing an innovative learning environment which had a positive effect on teachers and students and promoted the benefits of education and training.

Mark Haysom, Chief Executive of the LSC, said: “The designs by Walker Simpson for North Manchester Sixth Form College create a truly inspiring world-class education building. The architecture and atmosphere generate a fantastic “feel good factor” for learners and staff,” he added.

Second place in the RIBA/LSC Further Education Design Excellence Award went to Pick Everard, the architect of Stephenson College, Leicestershire for “exceptional points of special merit”.

Six colleges were shortlisted for innovation, excellence, adaptability, atmosphere and the positive feeling they contributed to the sector. Four shortlisted colleges also received highly commended certificates: South Trafford College’s architect, John McAslan & Partners; RMJM who designed the Newcastle Performance Academy, South East Essex College’s designer KSS Design Group Ltd and RyderHKS for New College Durham.

Bill Rammell, Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education said: “As part of our sweeping reforms to Further Education it is this Government’s aim to achieve a world class system delivering learning in buildings that are innovative and inspirational.

“We know that state-of-the-art buildings make a difference educationally, particularly in terms of attracting new learners and helping to improve educational standards. This is why we are continuing our huge investment in the FE estate, and why capital investment is the foundation of our programme of reforms,” he said.

Mr Haysom added: “Over the past four years, the LSC has approved grants of just under £1 billion to support 524 building projects in the learning and skills sector, worth a total of nearly £3.2 billion.

“In addition, this month the LSC has announced capital investment in colleges and school sixth forms will be increased to £595 million for 2007/8. This will ensure that all buildings are user-friendly and have the resources they need to do the best possible job, and deliver world class education and training,” he said.

Annabel Hardy.

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