I just had to add this to the blog, as it is positive news for a change.
The Regional Minister for the West Midlands, Ian Austin, today announced that Advantage West Midlands has confirmed its support for a £36 million investment into the £282 million project, for a state of the art learning quarter in Stoke on Trent.
The University Quarter in Stoke on Trent will bring together Staffordshire Univsersity, Stoke on Trent FE College and Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College, in a unique learning quarter.
The improvement will include new shared facilities for the college and the university, as well as commercial and residential development. The University Quarter will see major improvements to an important area of Stoke on Trent, between the railway station and the city centre.
A major focus for the University Quarter will be to drive up aspirations and skills to meet the needs of local employers. A business Centre has already been set up, to ensure that businesses in the area have access to the new facilities, and that the courses on offer are tailored for the needs of their employees.
£180 million has already been secured from the Learning and Skills Council, Staffs University, Stoke on Trent FE College, Stoke on Trent Sixth Form College, Stoke on Trent City Council and Advantage West Midlands. The rest of the investment will come from Higher Education Funding Council for England, RENEW North Stafforshire and the private sector.
Ian Austin , Regional Minister said
“I want to make sure that the economic downturn does not delay the regeneration of Stoke,and the investment we want to see in North Staffordshire.
“And I’m determined to ensure we improve education, training and skills in the area because that is the only way we’ll bring to Stoke the new highly-skilled and well-paid jobs on which the area’s prosperity will depend in the future.
“We need to make driving up skills our number one priority because the only way we will be able to attract and develop high-tech innovative businesses we’ll need in the future is by showing investors we’ve got the skills they’re looking for. “This project will see a massive improvement to an area of Stoke-on-Trent, which to many visitors is their first introduction to the City.
Mick Laverty, Chief Executive at Advantage West Midlands said
“In these times of economic uncertainty it is even more important that we do not lose momentum on this flagship project. This announcement shows AWM’s continuing commitment to the regeneration of North Staffordshire.
“Not only will the University Quarter help to raise the aspirations and educational attainments of local people, it will also regenerate a major site within Stoke-on-Trent for the benefit of the whole community, bringing nearly 1,000 new jobs and hundreds of new businesses to the City.
The Portfolio Holder for Enterprise and Culture , Councillor Hazel Lyth said
"This £36m of funding will help the University to train a highly skilled workforce for the future. The city has a commitment to get as many people into skilled jobs as possible, and this means increased access to higher education.
"We will have a smooth transition for students at local colleges to move on to Staffordshire University, and it will help us increase the amount of people available to take on high quality jobs. The funding will also help with the major physical regeneration of the University Quarter as part of the wider North Staffordshire Regeneration Partnership, and help in creating a positive image for Stoke-on-Trent."
This makes sense doesn't it, to place the colleges all in the same area, and link them to the University. Hopefully, this will form closer links with the college and universites, and will encourage people to go onto University. I have seen the new Stoke on Trent (Cauldon Campus) building, and it does look as if it will be pretty impressive, when finished.
Well done to everyone involved in this project!! What do you think?