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SEMLEP Board takes three college build projects to final stage of funding application

9 March 2018

The SEMLEP Board has approved recommendations to fund three projects, through SEMLEP’s £11million Skills Capital Fund, subject to final independent risk assessment and due diligence.

In Autumn 2017, Further Education colleges based in the SEMLEP area were invited to submit project proposals to bid for funding to improve college buildings, training facilities or equipment. The three successful project proposals, submitted by Milton Keynes CollegeThe Bedford College Group and Northampton College were shortlisted based on an independent assessment in-line with our Assurance Framework, undertaken by Regeneris, SEMLEP’s major projects appraisers.

Further work on due-diligence to review full details around project risks, value for money and the project timetables is due to start with a final decision on funding to be taken at the SEMLEP Board meeting in July or September 2018.

The first project proposal approved, from Milton Keynes College, will work to progress plans agreed to relocate their offer to a new city centre campus. This is part of a major £38.15million project that will improve alignment of further and higher education in the area.  

The second approved project was for The Bedford College Group. In their proposal, the college aims to complete a full refurbishment of buildings and improved access at their Tresham College, Wellingborough campus.

The project proposal from Northampton College seeks to create a new employer-led advanced construction and engineering centre at the College.  

Dr Ann Limb CBE DL, Chair of SEMLEP said, “Enhancing the skills and education provision across the South East Midlands is crucial to raising the aspirations and achievements of our young people in our area.

“This Skills Capital Fund injects much needed investment into colleges to further support young people to develop skills fit for the world of work.”

Imelda Galvin, Chief Operating Officer, Milton Keynes College said, “Milton Keynes College is delighted to have been taken through to the final stages to receive funding, supporting our aim of moving to a single campus in the heart of Milton Keynes. 

“Moving to a single, central campus  will better position us to meet the skills needs of Milton Keynes and its growing population. Being in the city centre will not only bring us closer to employers, but will allow us to utilise the greater transport connections to increase access to the College for people throughout Milton Keynes, Bletchley and beyond.”

The Bedford College Group CEO Ian Pryce CBE said: “We are delighted to be chosen as one of the three build project in the SEMLEP area to be taken through to the final stages.  Our proposal to refurbish Tresham College’s existing site at Wellingborough will enable us to offer the community across East Northamptonshire a much wider range of courses, qualifications and apprenticeships that address current skills gaps and better meet local employers’ needs.”

Northampton College Principal, Pat Brennan-Barrett said, “I am delighted to have received sponsorship for our new ACE (Advanced Construction Engineering) centre. 

We will be meeting the skills gap in the County by offering very innovative and creative courses in construction – aligned with our current engineering course.  Our offer will enable so many young people and adults to gain the necessary skills from level 1 to 5 in Construction Engineering that is so desperately required in Northamptonshire.”

Criterion set for successful applications included:

  • clear alignment with the priorities set out in the South East Midlands’ Strategic Economic Plan, to develop a pipeline of talent and a skilled workforce that meets the needs of employers and that’s required for a modern and competitive future economy
  • strong employer engagement, with a focus on improving and bridging gaps between employer skills needs and the skills and attainment of young people entering employment and, enabling people in work to progress through a life-long approach to skills development
  • projects that increase learner numbers and apprenticeship outcomes
  • projects that can demonstrate impact in promoting wider economic growth and development, such as innovation and skills development for high growth sectors
  • projects that can demonstrate robust value for public money, and leveraging private sector investment
  • alignment with the recommendations of the area based review, a review of all post-16 education and training institutions located in the South East Midlands area.

For further information about the Skills Capital Fund, and the project approval process, please contact Judith Barker, SEMLEP’s Project and Assurance Manager on 01234 436 100.


Funded through the Local Growth Fund.

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