Build for world we live in

Colleges receive £400m construction boost

Business secretary Vince Cable has announced a significant government investment that aims to improve the facilities for college students across the UK.

A £412 million fund has been set up for the provision of grants for construction works at colleges throughout the country that will see facilities being transformed in order to provide better services for students, including a greater focus on vocational careers.

In total, more than 50 colleges are taking part in the initiative, which will deliver a new state-of-the-art civil engineering academy, as well as transforming classrooms across the UK into up-to-date vocational workshops.

Mr Cable argued: "These projects will transform the learning environment for thousands of students across the country, providing them with state-of-the-art facilities and modern resources that will help them fulfil their potential.

"Addressing gaps in skills is an important part of our industrial strategy. This initiative is another example of how government is working in long-term partnership with industry to give them more confidence to invest, hire and grow."

He made the announcement in a speech this week at the annual Association of Colleges Conference, adding that the funding forms the third phase of the ongoing Enhanced Renewal Grant, which has so far contributed more than £300 million to the sector since May 2010.

Meanwhile, the University of Manchester recently announced ambitious plans to expand its campus utilising a £1 billion development fund.

The project is set to include the provision of a range of new services and buildings for both students and staff, including a larger Students' Union, new centres for law and business, a new engineering campus and a new medical school.

The first phase of the scheme is set to get underway by the end of the year, with a timetable for full completion of the works setting a target deadline of 2022. 

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