FE colleges link up to bid for skills cash

A NEW partnership involving the 10 largest further eduction colleges in Greater Manchester has made a flying start – winning a £14m pot of cash from Europe for skills training.

Called Greater Manchester Colleges Ltd, the new venture will bid for more
money from Europe and central government in the recognition that a joint approach will be more effective than bids from individual institutions.

Jointly the 10 colleges contribute more than £500m to the Greater Manchester economy each year and the new partnership is now exploring ways of becoming more efficient by sharing services and therefore stripping out costs.

Tameside College principal, Peter Ryder, is the Group’s chair and said:
“As a group we will be continuing to work with local and regional employers to bring a greater emphasis on enterprise, entrepreneurialism and innovative thinking to the education sector.

“We aim to build capacity and excellence by developing existing provision and pulling together the expertise and specialist skills from all of the colleges involved.”

Robin Newton-Syms, the group’s partnership director, added: “Our aim is to use the new company to attract more funding into Greater Manchester and facilitate work with other organisations.

“We already have strong links with the Chamber of Commerce, private sector training providers, local authorities and the voluntary sector which is helping employers develop the skills of their workers.

“The potential now is for colleges to help shape the future of businesses, by offering effective training solutions and skills development which will enable them to grow.”

The next pot of cash the venture will be for is around £3m for young people not in education or training.

The 10 FE colleges are: Bolton; Bury; Hopwood Hall; Manchester; Oldham; Salford City; Stockport; Tameside; Trafford and Wigan and Leigh.