By Claire West

Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced the 149 colleges across England that will benefit from funding of £50 million from the Government to invest in new buildings and renovate existing ones.

These 149 colleges will each receive up to a £225,000 Renewal Grant, with some successful bidders winning extra Government funds taking their totals up to £1 million.

These colleges will more than match Government funding by raising money from private sources, which will allow them to renovate buildings and update facilities, giving students access to more modern and sophisticated equipment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Back in May the Coalition announced £50m of investment in college building programmes which will now benefit more than a hundred colleges across the country.

“Improving people’s skills is a key part of this Government’s plans to secure economic growth, and colleges are right in the frontline of this challenge.

“We want them to be able to attract students and give them the best learning experience possible.

“In allocating this £50 million funding, we have seen some impressive bids come in for ambitious and innovative projects from colleges that are planning for the future.

“Helping colleges modernise their facilities will give them a much-needed boost at a time when education could not be more important, and I am glad we have been able to provide them with this support.”

Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning Minister John Hayes said:

“We are keeping our promises to the sector by providing colleges with the funding that will make a real difference to thousands of students, lecturers, and the communities they live and work in.

“Colleges should be inspiring places, where students can gain new skills and enjoy new experiences that transform their lives.

“When I announced this investment earlier this year, I wanted to show that we are proud of our colleges. The projects they build with this money will give their staff and students even more to be proud of.

“This is good news for all those that want to improve their skills and get on in life, good for FE and good for the communities colleges serve.”

The £50 million grant comprises £30 million of Renewal Grant, split equally between eligible colleges; and £20 million of Enhanced Renewal Grant, taking some allocations up to £1 million.

Colleges are expected to attract additional private finance to add to the Government grants, providing final projects of significant value. Government grants will be provided by the Skills Funding Agency, and have been raised through funds reallocated from the Train to Gain scheme.

Building will start immediately on most projects, with new facilities becoming available from the start of the 2011 academic year

Criteria set for colleges wishing to submit a bid for a share of the funding included:

·Condition of the college and its facilities;

·The benefits to learners; and

·Adding to regeneration of local communities.

Colleges submitting bids cannot have received more than £5 million of funding approved in the past by the Learning and Skills Council and the Skills Funding Agency. Bids also needed to show that the building project could be completed by September 2011.