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Government fast tracks college rebuild programme funding - AoC responds

28 June 2020

Today (28 June), the government has announced it will fast track the capital spending for the college rebuild programme starting from 2020-21. Responding to the news, Chief Exeuctive David Hughes said: This is a good first step by the Government to support colleges to be central players in the country’s recovery. After being excluded from the catch-up funding, colleges needed some good news this week to boost morale. Colleges will provide training, skills and education to over 2 million young people and adults next year, many of whom will need advice, support, and high quality teaching to be able to prepare for what will be a tough labour market. This capital resource, for bringing building and digital infrastructure up to date, was an important part of Rebuild: a skills led recovery plan which we published earlier this month. I hope today’s announcement will be followed quickly by a package of investment for colleges to be able to help more people get the skills they need to find work, and for the construction, engineering employers to get the skilled people they will need to deliver the infrastructure. We would like to see an apprenticeship target for every contractor winning any of the Government’s contracts under their infrastructure fiscal stimulus. That would help young people get the best start in life and extend further the impact of the investment. For colleges, they will be desperate to have the resources quickly, so I hope this is delivered through a simple formula which grants the money with minimum bureaucracy. That way, colleges can invest in the repairs, adaptations, equipment and crucially the digital infrastructure they need to provide a great learning experience from September. The overall package of £1.5bn committed in the March Budget will only be sufficient if colleges are financially healthy enough to secure commercial borrowing to extend the fund, and that is in doubt unless further revenue investment comes very soon. Overall this is a very welcome announcement which will show college leaders that they are viewed by the Government as a vital part of the recovery effort. They want to be, and can be with the right investment.” You can read the full news release here.