Wigan and Leigh College gets Government windfall for major upgrades

Wigan and Leigh College has been named as one of 16 English further education establishments to benefit in the next phase of the government’s £1.5bn FE Capital Transformation Fund.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 2:47 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 2:48 pm
The Parson's Walk tower block

The money - an amount has not yet been disclosed - will be spent on the oldest parts of the college: its School for the Arts and the Parsons Walk tower block.

Features will include a new state-of-the-art media, graphics, gaming design and creative art facilities, performance spaces and new theatre.

The capital comes on the back of a three-year investment programme undertaken by the college which has seen the creation of a digital academy at Leigh College, the refurbishment of the former UTC building in Wigan which will launch as the Centre for Advanced Technical Studies in September focusing on higher level studies in health, digital and engineering, the creation of an advanced manufacturing facility at its Pagefield campus and the refurbishment of the Image Centre at Leigh into Leigh Adult Learning Centre.

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College principal Anna Dawe said “Our programme of investment and curriculum development has been planned in response to the Wigan Employment & Skills Strategy and focused on priority skill sectors needed in our region.

“It is wonderful that the college is now receiving this additional investment.

“The capital injection is specifically targeted at our oldest estate namely Wigan School for the Arts and the Parsons Walk Tower Block.

“This additional funding will include the development of state of the art media, graphics, gaming design and creative art facilities as well as dedicated performance spaces along with a new theatre.”

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 £200m 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.”

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