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Vocational education projects get £1 million charity funding boost

Vocational projects across England are set to benefit from £1 million worth of investment thanks to an educational charity.

To celebrate ten years championing technical, practical and vocational learning, the Edge Foundation today announced the first seven projects that will receive grants from its £1 million Edge Innovation and Development Fund.

The grants, which start at £50,000 up to a maximum of £100,000, are being awarded to educational projects across a range of key sectors.

The biggest grant of £100,000 goes to Oldham College to support the opening of its new Digital and Creative Career College housed within a purpose-built digital skills centre.

Principal Alun Francis said the funding would help the college “revitalise” vocational education in the digital sector.

Barking and Dagenham College will receive £96,000 to set up the Siemens’ Mechatronics Academy, a specialist industry-led unit within its regional science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) centre, while Activate Learning in Oxfordshire is to get £90,000 for its Career Pathway College to provide high quality technical education in construction and heritage craft.

The Eden Project in Cornwall is to get £82,000 to fund a horticulture and food production education programme and Liverpool-based Career Academies UK is to get £50,000 to fund five new career academies focusing on the logistics sector.

Hackney Community College in London will receive £78,540 to fund an apprenticeship centre, and Lutterworth College in Leicestershire will get £52,787 for a studio school and specialist logistics centre.

The grants, totaling almost £550,000, have been awarded in the first round of applications. Second round applications have now closed and successful bids will be announced by the end of the year.

All applications must support the Edge Foundation's Six Steps for Change and address at least two of the following three aims; support the creation of new institutions; support the development of profound employer engagement and address areas of skills shortages for the UK economy.

Additionally, all projects must support the sharing of practice in vocational education and training and be able to support further development or replication.

Jan Hodges, chief executive of the Edge Foundation, said: “We are delighted to support this range of innovative and exciting projects around the country.

“Edge has worked hard over the past decade championing the importance and benefits of high quality technical, practical and vocational education and training, seeking a closer alignment between education and the skill needs of the UK economy.

“These projects all have the potential to become beacons of excellence in this regard and exemplars of what can be achieved. ”

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