FOUR Essex colleges have been awarded capital grants totalling in excess of Â£500,000 by Essex County Council.
Colchester Institute, Harlow College, Prospects College of Advanced Technology (PROCAT) and South Essex College of Further and Higher Education (Basildon campus) have been awarded one-off capital grants totalling Â£576,173.
The grants will be used to purchase specialist equipment and refurbish existing facilities.
The capital grants are subject to the colleges’ successful match funding applications to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to enhance their training provision in STEM (science, technology, engineering and manufacturing) subjects.
Evidence has shown that skills shortages in these areas are impacting businesses and hindering economic growth.
The Essex County Council funding will also require colleges to commit to deliver training to an agreed number of learners in key curriculum areas, all related to key growth sectors in Essex, over a five-year period.
This investment aligns with the Essex Employment and Skills Board mission to create the most productive skills system in the country to deliver the high level skills demanded by employers.
Councillor Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Growth, Waste and Recycling stated: “This investment will improve training provision in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths across the county. It will increase the number of placements for young people and adults as well as delivering the highly-skilled workforce that our businesses need to deliver growth. This investment shows once again that Essex Means Business!”
Essex Employment and Skills Board Chair, Suzanne Jude of Raytheon UK said “We are delighted to see this investment into specialist equipment and facilities which will help ensure that local training can deliver for our growth sectors. We are working hard to put in place more programmes, resources and knowledge to produce an appropriately skilled workforce as informed by our robust Skills Evidence Base.”
Alison Andreas, Principal and Chief Executive at Colchester Institute said, “We are delighted to hear that our bid for support has been successful. This funding will enable us to purchase skills development equipment that will be unique to this part of the county and will assist us in providing much needed training opportunities to local and regional businesses currently reporting skills shortages. In particular these businesses are in the areas of Advanced Manufacturing; Environmental Engineering; Low Carbon Technologies; Health Sciences and the Creative Digital Sector.”
Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College stated: “We are delighted that Essex supported us in this capital bid. Their grant has enabled Harlow College to purchase essential items of equipment and will enable the development of the facilities to provide young people and adults with the latest skills required by employers in the science, engineering and health sectors.”
Neil Bates, Principal and Chief Executive of PROCAT said: “The Construction, Utilities and Infrastructure sectors are absolutely critical to economic growth in Essex and in the UK. As the government roles out a programme of capital investment to support sectors including rail, aviation, road, nuclear and sustainable housing the supply of skilled technician engineers and construction workers will be critical to their success. We are already seeing shortages of skilled workers in construction design, planning, and project management and in the application of new techniques and technologies including for example BIM. PROCAT, in partnership with Essex County Council, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and major employers will be investing in creating state of the art facilities to train the next generation of technician engineers. New higher level programmes for young people wanting a career in this growing sector will be available at the college starting from this September.”
Angela O’Donaghue, Principal and Chief Executive of South Essex College of Further & Higher Education said: “Our successful bid for Science Equipment for the Basildon Campus of South Essex College will provide the opportunity to grow our science provision, particularly our training for technicians and high level skills to enable students to progress into medical sciences.”