Working closely with the Skills Funding Agency, SE LEP will make the £18m available to be invested over the next two years. A further £4m will be invested in equipment for colleges and training providers through a separate bidding process.
Hadlow Group has secured £9,800,000 from SE LEP’s Skills Capital Fund to deliver Phase 1 of Ashford College by creating 5,112m2 of floorspace as the first stage of a new campus in the heart of the town. This will remove existing poor quality facilities, replacing them with an improved learning environment to support more than 900 additional learners.
The second successful bidder is East Kent College, which secured £1,186,750 to support plans for the provision of new training facilities for the local engineering, logistics and service industries at its Dover campus. The then Minister for Skills and Enterprise Matthew Hancock is pictured with local MP Charlie Elphicke and college Principal Graham Razey.
Each of the bids to the SE LEP Skills Capital Fund showed a strong focus on helping to reduce the skills shortage; support growth industries; and provide the best possible facilities for young people to access vocational skills and training.
As a result, the funding will tackle the skills needs of business and their communities. In the case of Ashford, support will be aimed at manufacturing, construction and service industries, while Dover will see a renewed focus on delivering skills for local engineering, logistics and service companies.
It is clear skills development is a key element of the SE LEP strategy for growth, which will see 200,000 new jobs created by 2021, and 100,000 additional homes built across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.