Leeds College of Building receives £1 million grant funding to support adult learning

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, tours the Leeds College of Building South Bank Campus.
Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, tours the Leeds College of Building South Bank Campus.

Tracy Brabin, mayor of West Yorkshire, has visited Leeds College of Building to celebrate the college receiving over £1 million of grant funding from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Adult Education Budget (AEB), allocated to support adults in learning skills needed by West Yorkshire’s construction industry.

The mayor was also given a tour of the new South Bank campuses, one of which was part funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The funding allocated to Leeds College of Building is part of the wider AEB funding to ensure skills provision in West Yorkshire supports adults to develop the skills needed to enter and stay in work, or enroll in an apprenticeship, or other learning and meets the needs of the region’s businesses.

Commenting on her visit, Tracy said: We’re now seeing the fantastic benefits of devolution and how we can strategically use funding to benefit our local economy and the people who live here.

“As the economy re-opens, the construction industry is recovering strongly, with more than 70,000 people in West Yorkshire alone, already working in construction. However, many employers are still struggling to recruit people with the right skills.

“Therefore, I’m pleased to see that we are providing people with excellent education and training facilities and courses whereby they can gain the skills needed by industry.”

Leeds College of Building, which specialises in the construction industry, has two campuses, the North Street campus, and the South Bank campus in Hunslet.

Prior to the College receiving grant funding to support adult learners, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority allocated £11.9 million towards the construction of the ‘South Bank 2 Campus’ and the part refurbishment of the North Street Campus.

The funding was from the £79 million Skills Capital investment into Further Education colleges across the city region.

The Skills Capital Programme was part of the Leeds City Region Growth Deal (a £1 billion package of government investment to accelerate economic growth and create jobs). The College also received a £1.45 million loan from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The overall aim of the project was to consolidate operations and rationalise on to two sites in Leeds (the North Street and the South Bank campuses), and to provide world-class education and training facilities for students and the construction industry to help meet the growing needs and skills gaps in the industry.

Derek Whitehead, principal and chief executive officer of Leeds College of Building, said: “The capital investment from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority towards our Phase 2 South Bank campus was a welcomed significant contribution to further the College’s strategy to help meet the growing construction education and training needs of students and employers, both regionally and nationally.

“Adults, 16-18-year-olds, apprentices and Higher Education students make up the 6,000 students that attend the College each year. I am pleased that Leeds College of Building, together with excellent support from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and employers, are helping to meet the needs of students and industry.”

The West Yorkshire Combined Authority has worked with the College since 2017 on a Delivery Agreement programme. The programme facilitates a strategic discussion and monitoring of how the college provision is responding to key skills priorities across the city region and its own locality.

Prior to the West Yorkshire devolution deal, adult skills saw a significant reduction in funding, impacting the training opportunities of many adults across West Yorkshire. Now the West Yorkshire Combined Authority has taken responsibility for the region’s £65 million annual Adult Education Budget, and funding can be assigned towards skills priorities that have been developed closely with partners including local authorities, colleges and employers to ensure funding is used to meet local skills and employment needs.

AEB funding will be used to make learning more inclusive and increase the supply of skills to support key sectors, improve West Yorkshire’s resilience by identifying and delivering the skills needed for the future, and benefit the 380,000 people – or 26% of West Yorkshire’s working age population – who have low or no qualifications.

>> You can read more about Leeds College of Building in the ‘news’ here