A multi million pound deal to fund the redevelopment of Harrogate College by 2016 has been secured.
As part of the funding secured by the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership in July, the college will receive £8m for a part new build and part refurbishment.
The funding addresses a priority to create skilled and inspired people, as identified by the LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan.
Harrogate College will earmark the funding for safeguarding the future of vocational education in the area through the design and build of a new specialist centre.
The new campus will also provide the expansion of existing curriculum areas and the development of new skills training.
Principal of Harrogate College, Debra Forsythe-Conroy said: “I am absolutely delighted with the investment committed to Harrogate College by the York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
“This investment will support both the remodelling of the College and expansion in existing and new curriculum areas.
“The college has already seen a 22 per cent growth in 16-18 year old admissions for this year and that indicates to me a level of confidence in the local community of going into further education.
“The funding has ushered in the start of a new era for the college, one that aspires to match the stature of Harrogate town.”
Harrogate MP Andrew Jones added: “This investment, allowing the College to consolidate its buildings, is good news for the College, the students and for education in Harrogate.
“I was pleased to meet with the College prior to the bid and then meet with the Minister to highlight its importance to Harrogate and the region.”
As part of the Growth Deals announced by government, every local enterprise area in England had the chance to bid for a share of a £10 billion Local Growth fund.
The aim of this was to build strong local economies and for LEPs to target their own identified growth priorities with a greater freedom and flexibibility from the Government.
In a bid to ensure growth in the region, the campus will focus on new skills training in areas such as the visiter economy, health and social care and business services.
The project will also extend the College’s existing higher education offer in response to a desire to secure increased employment opportunities by raising higher level skills.
Ms Forsythe-Conroy said: “The investment supports our commitment to securing increased employment opportunities for North Yorkshire particularly Harrogate and district by raising skills and employability levels enhancing our ability to develop curriculum which meets the local priorities.
“We will expand our offer in those subjects supporting the visitor economy, heritage crafts, cultural and business economies and Harrogate College will become a centre of excellence for the region in further and higher education building on the Groups track record as an outstanding education provider.”
The college’s apprenticeship scheme would also benefit from the funding and redevelopment, according to the principal.
She said: “The apprentices can get involved in the construction of the building and these opportunities for young people is a key part of what we are doing. We work very hard on our apprenticeships with plenty of support from businesses and the young people themselves and see them as a viable alternative to earn and learn at the same time. You can progress onwards to foundations and higher education.”