£2.3bm investment in further education tied to training and eco-targets

Government is to invest £2.3bn in a strategy to develop new low carbon colleges over the next three years, John Denham, the secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) will announce tomorrow.

Building Colleges for the Future sets out proposals for the largest ever further education building works programme, with more than 150 colleges throughout England expected to benefit.

The programme will ensure that all new facilities are zero carbon by 2016, while contracted companies that take on the work will be obliged to invest in the skills and training needs of their staff.

All contractors wanting access to public funds to build colleges will be required to set up formal training plans to increase local access to work-based learning.

“In 1997 there was no dedicated capital budget for further education colleges. The record £2.3bn we are now investing sets out our most ambitious plans yet for sustainable college buildings,” Denham will say.

“The strategy will also announce the inclusion of mandatory training plans for apprenticeships and work-based learning in all contracts. This will ensure we get maximum value and training opportunities out of every penny of public investment going into our colleges, and marks the beginning of a radical new approach to public procurement.”

The money will be disbursed through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) initally, with £694m being spent in 2008-09, £820m in 2009-10, and the last £850m being distributed in 2010-11, after the LSC has closed.

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