From education to employment

LSC Confirms Funding of New Education Initiative

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight have approved plans, put forward by Highbury College, for a massive redevelopment of the Portsmouth institution.

The multi-million pound project will see the college transform learning and skills for school leavers in the city. The first phase of the plan will see a new learning centre built in the city, followed by a redevelopment of the college’s existing Cosham campus. The cost of the project is almost £40 million, with the LSC agreeing to contribute more than half the funding required. The rest will be paid for by Highbury College and the Regional Development Agency, SEEDA.

Improving Lot for Young People

The new City of Portsmouth Learning Centre is a combined venture between the LSC, Highbury College, Portsmouth College, the City Council and SEEDA. The development will cost around £12million and it is hoped that the centre will help improve the training options for school leavers and young adults in Portsmouth. The Learning Centre will be delivering vocational training and Highbury College will be moving many of its courses to the new centre such as; hospitality and catering, health and social care, amongst others.

There will also be provision of foundation programmes for 14-15 year olds. In addition, the centre will also be available to employers for day release courses and training. The initiative was conceived following the LSC’s review of training opportunities for school leavers in the area, with the intent of providing training in practical, vocational skills and on-going education. The City of Portsmouth Learning Centre is scheduled for completion by autumn 2007.

Delighted Reactions

Hilary Chadwick, of the LSC, said: “I am absolutely delighted with the LSC’s approval of this innovative and much needed re-development of education and training provision in the city centre. It is the result of five years hard work by all the partners involved and I thank them all for their commitment and support. We now have the opportunity to give local people and employers what they need and deserve – a learning environment to transform their lives and raise their skills to world-class standards.”

Stella Mbubaegbu, Principal of Highbury College, agreed, saying: “Highbury College is extremely pleased to have been given the green light to bring 21st century education provision into the heart of Portsmouth. Students will have some of the best facilities in Europe on their doorstep and will no longer need to travel distances to learn. Highbury College plans are ambitious but we recognise the need to have state-of-the-art facilities up and running for autumn 2007 for both current and prospective students who will reap the benefits.”

Lynda Fisher, Strategic Director for Children, Families and Learning at Portsmouth City Council explained what the initiative meant for Portsmouth: “Much good work is already underway in Portsmouth, but we need more facilities for the 16+ age group in the heart of the city and this new and exciting learning centre will help to encourage more local young people to stay in education and training after school. It will also provide a much-needed central base for the provision of adult learning to benefit all residents in Portsmouth.”

Dan Atkinson

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