Budget lifeline for college bid?

NORTH Devon College (NDC) remains determined to secure funding for an exciting new �125 million development and says nowhere in England needs the money more. The Budget statement threw the funding programme for Further Education college building projects

NORTH Devon College (NDC) remains determined to secure funding for an exciting new �125 million development and says nowhere in England needs the money more.The Budget statement threw the funding programme for Further Education college building projects a �1.2 billion lifeline.And, while that is significantly less than the estimated �5.7 billion it would take to fund the 144 construction projects currently being planned across England, NDC's Principal, David Dodd, is confident of success:"Our project is so vital to the future of North Devon and Torridge that the Government cannot afford not to fund our plans," said Mr Dodd."Nowhere in England needs a new college more than North Devon."The college proposes replacing its current campus and a variety of leased premises in Barnstaple, with a purpose-built facility in the town centre, together with a skills centre in Bideford.And they will meet increasing demand for college courses. NDC has already seen full-time student numbers rise by 40 per cent in the last four years."We have spent four years developing a vision for a new college, with the community and regional partners, that will serve the needs of 150,000 people, over a vast rural area which currently has major skills shortages, low average salaries and increasing unemployment. "The outstanding education and training opportunities we offer are vital to our community's survival through the recession and economic recovery once we are out of the downturn.North Devon College's plans have already been given "Approval in Principle" by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), the Government agency due to fund around �90 million of the costs, alongside 78 other projects.Many other colleges have already had building projects funded through the LSC's Building Colleges for the Future programme but NDC has received no investment to date.The aim is to put the college at the centre of an outstanding learning community, economically, culturally and socially.

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