Students benefit from £79M investment in colleges across Leeds City Region

The Leeds City Region is starting to see benefits of UK’s largest Skills Capital investment which has led to nine new college facilities being built and two further buildings being refurbished.

Next week will see the official opening of Leeds City College’s new Quarry Hill campus – one of 11 college facilities to have benefitted from a £79 million investment programme by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The Skills Capital funding was part of the £1 billion-plus Leeds City Region Growth Deal - largest funding deal in the country when it was agreed with the Government in 2014 - and has allowed the Combined Authority and the LEP to invest in world-class further education facilities across the region.

The investment is expected to have a £600 million economic impact across the City Region over the next five years as well as creating around 3,000 apprenticeships.

Leeds City College received a total package of more than £40 million to enable it to build two new state-of-the-art buildings including £9 million towards the refurbishment of its Printworks Campus, on Hunslet Road, and £33.4 million for the brand-new Quarry Hill campus.

Leeds College of Building, the UK’s only specialist construction college, opened a new purpose-built facility at its South Bank campus earlier this year after it received £11.9 million from the Leeds City Region Growth Deal.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the LEP, said: “Creating a globally competitive economy starts with providing world-class further education facilities and our £79 million Skills Capital investment through the Growth Deal has allowed us to do this right across the Leeds City Region.

“This unprecedented, long-term investment in further education will lay the foundations for a successful future where everyone has access to the right skills and qualifications, especially for growing sectors such as digital and construction which will drive our economy forward over the next decade.”

Kirklees College, in Dewsbury, received almost £13 million in total to fund two new buildings, the Process Manufacturing Centre which opened in August 2016 and the Springfield Sixth Form Centre which opened in September 2018, as well as the refurbishment of Pioneer House which is currently underway.

In Halifax, Calderdale College received £4.9 million to help refurbish and upgrade the Percival Whitley Centre. It formally opened in March 2017 and offers a broad range of courses from advanced engineering and manufacturing to digital and creative media.

Wakefield College received £3.3 million towards the Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre (ASIC) where students can gain higher level qualifications in key subjects such as advanced manufacturing and engineering, digital and creative technologies. The Centre also provides space and support for business incubation.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council, said: “Access to quality further education is one of the biggest drivers of inclusion and social mobility which is why our Skills Capital investment is crucial to building a regional economy where everyone benefits.

“Thanks to our Growth Deal, in Leeds City Region we’ve been able to deliver one of the biggest investments in further education across the whole of the UK and provide people with the opportunity to learn the skills they need to thrive in future.”

Shipley College received £119,000 from the Skills Capital funding pot to help cover the costs of refurbishing the Mill Building and became the first project to complete in November 2015. A further £300,000 was invested to refurbish the Salt Building and provide an IT upgrade which was completed in October 2017.

Selby College received funding of £694,000 to help fund an extension to the Aspiration Building which completed in July 2017 and provides workshop space to accommodate growth in demand for engineering and construction skills.

In Bradford, the Combined Authority and the LEP invested £250,000 into the high-spec Northern Dental Education Centre (NORDEC), which is based at the city’s Advanced Technology Centre and completed in July 2017.