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Fantastic news as Harlow College secures key funding

Education: Secondary / Wed 25th Feb 2015 at 12:29pm

STUDENTS at Harlow College and local businesses are to benefit after winning a share of £18m to support skills and training following a decision by the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SE LEP).

Harlow College has secured £2.5m to finance its new Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Centre. The state-of-the-art facility will enable to the college to develop aspiring young engineers and operations/maintenance engineers by providing hands-on experience and real cutting-edge technical skills. The new centre will also provide upskilling, reskilling and professional development for people already in employment.

The project involves replacing existing buildings with more than 2,000m2 of new engineering facilities including CNC, assembly and robotics, fabrication maintenance and PLC training, product design and development, metrology lab, electrical and mechanical services.

Harlow College is one of five further education colleges across the South East to successfully win a bid to the SE LEP Skills Capital Fund, which is designed to reduce skills shortages, support growth industries and provide the best possible facilities for the South East’s young people to access vocational skills and training.

SE LEP Chairman Peter Jones said: “Improving skills is a key priority for us and our partners. I’m delighted to see colleges are focusing on the skills needs of business and their communities, and in the case of Harlow, on supporting science, technology and engineering companies.

“We know that in Essex there is the need to recruit 13,500 more engineers by 2016 to fill emerging roles and those vacated by an imminently retiring workforce. The Harlow College bid will have a direct impact not only on the lives of the individual students but also the long term success of the local economies.”

Karen Spencer, Principal of Harlow College said: “Harlow College is committed to developing young people and adults to be the engineers of the future. The new Advanced Manufacturing Centre will enable us to work with employers designing both the curriculum and the facilities that provide state-of-the-art engineering training.
 
“The support of the Local Enterprise Partnership and Essex County Council will enable us to build a first-class Advanced Manufacturing Centre, which will be operational from September 2016. Engineering is a vital part of the local enterprise plan for generating wealth, opportunity and economic growth. This new facility will inspire more people to study and develop these essential skills for the future.”

Councillor Tony Durcan, Deputy Leader of Harlow Council and Portfolio Holder for Regeneration & Enterprise, said: “The securing of this funding for Harlow College is excellent news and will make a big difference to the future of the manufacturing and engineering industry in Harlow and the surrounding area.
 
“Harlow has historically been at the cutting edge of technology and engineering with the birth of fibre optics taking place here. With the improvements to facilities that this funding will bring to the college, and the Enterprise Zone currently under development, it’s really exciting to think about what other pioneering advancements could be made in Harlow in years to come.”

The other further education college in Essex to benefit from funding was The College at Braintree, which received £2.5m for its new Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering Centre.

Commenting on the success of the two Essex bids, Cllr Kevin Bentley, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Infrastructure said:  “This announcement is great news for Essex. Our young people are the workforce of the future and it is vital that they have the skills necessary to equip them for jobs in the county. Engineering, technology and advanced manufacturing are important sectors in Essex, and so we must plan to make sure they have appropriately trained employees.
 
“Together with our many partners, we are working hard to boost the economy in Essex, and this and this is very welcome news. Proof indeed that Essex means business.”
 
Skills development is a key element of the SE LEP strategy for growth, which will see 200,000 new jobs created by 2021, and 100,000 additional homes built across East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Medway, Southend and Thurrock.

Working closely with the Skills Funding Agency, SE LEP will make the £18m available to be invested over the next two years. A further £4m will be invested in equipment for colleges and training providers through a separate bidding process.

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