UK: Sixteen colleges to benefit from next phase of fund to transform facilities

Next phase of government’s £1.5 billion FE Capital Transformation Fund gets underway, to upgrade and refurbish college estates.

Sixteen colleges across England are set to be the next to benefit from the government’s £1.5 billion FE Capital Transformation Fund, Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan announced today (8 April).

The fund was first launched in September 2020 by the Prime Minister to rebuild and transform college estates and create modern, fit-for-purpose spaces that meet the needs of students and the communities they serve.

The first phase of the fund was launched in September 2020, with an initial £200 million allocated to all colleges so they could undertake immediate remedial work to refurbish their buildings.

Following this, in January 2021, a second phase was launched where all colleges were invited to bid for additional funding to help upgrade their campuses. Bids are now being considered by Department for Education (DfE) with funding expected to be awarded this Autumn.

This third and final phase will involve the DfE working in partnership with the 16 colleges announced today to fund projects that will ensure they are excellent places to learn, and so more people can gain the skills that they need to secure great jobs.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Gillian Keegan said:

It is fantastic news that we are launching the next phase of this transformation programme, working with a small number of colleges that are some of the most in need of support to upgrade and revitalise their estates.

As we recover from the pandemic, it is vital our colleges continue to be great places to learn with excellent facilities.

Our priority is making sure every student receives high quality education and training, no matter where they live, so they can gain the skills they need to progress into work and help the economy to rebuild and grow.

This significant investment forms part of the government’s landmark reforms – through the Skills for Jobs White Paper – that will transform further and technical education and deliver the skilled workforce employers and the economy need, helping to level up skills and opportunities for more people across the country.

The reforms build on the action already underway to transform the post-16 landscape. This includes rolling out T Level qualifications, establishing a network of Institutes of Technology, and through the new Lifetime Skills Guarantee making sure everyone, no matter where they live or their background, can gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives.

The 16 colleges to benefit from third phase of the FE Capital Transformation Fund are as follows:

Beacon Centre, Blackburn College;
Lansdowne Site, Bournemouth & Poole College;
Brooksby Melton College, SMB Group;
Ashington Campus, Education Partnership North East (Northumberland College);
St Austell Campus, Cornwall College;
Houghall Campus, East Durham College;
Rochdale site, Hopwood Hall College;
Isle of Wight College;
Great Yarmouth Campus, East Coast College;
Stafford site, Newcastle & Stafford College Group;
North Lindsey College, DN College Group;
Merrist Wood College, Activate Learning;
Strode College;
Parsons Walk, Wigan & Leigh College;
Yeovil College;
Stanmore College.