£9.3m. Government cash secured for new Burnley University Technical College

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PLANS to build Lancashire’s first state-of-the-art University Technical College, Visions Learning Trust, at the heart of the Weavers’ Triangle in Burnley have moved a step closer after providers Training 2000 secured £9.3m. of government funding.

A series of public consultations also began at the town hall yesterday to let residents have their say on the proposals for the historic Victoria Mill site, off Trafalgar Street. The scheme is subject to the final funding agreement being signed by the Secretary of State in April but those involved billed the funding as a major milestone.

The college, for 14 to 19-year-olds, will offer traditional education alongside employer-led technical training such as apprenticeships.

A planning application is set to be submitted by early April with work due to start in June. The centre, which is being built by Barnfield Construction in conjunction with Burnley Borough Council, is expected to be fully-operational by September 2013.

Coun. Charlie Briggs, leader of Burnley Council, said: “This is a major success – it cements Burnley’s growing reputation as a centre for excellence for education and skills in advanced manufacturing.

“Modern manufacturers need a skilled workforce – Burnley’s ability to supply the skills will become a magnet which retains and draws in manufacturing businesses.”

Mr John Proctor, UTC curriculum advisor at Training 2000, added: “This long-awaited decision is a major milestone in the development of the site and we are thrilled to be in a position to move forward. It is a very exciting time for us and we will now be working closely with our partners to progress our plans.”

Mr Gareth Smith, Barnfield project director for the Weavers’ Triangle, said the college would be key to regenerating the whole area.

“This facility will deliver design excellence and will inspire a new generation of technically capable people in an industry desperate for new talent. The facility will encompass a world class work based opportunity which will deliver state-of-the-art learning facilities in the setting of an intuitive workplace.”