Plans for a university park in the heart of Dudley have received a massive boost after the government approved £25 million funding with a visit from a top Government Minister.
Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government visited Dudley today to see the Towns Fund financed project first-hand.
He got to tour Castle Hill with the leader of the council, Andrew Lovett from the Towns Fund Board and Neil Thomas from Dudley College.
Earlier this year Dudley Council submitted a bid to the Towns Fund to help finance the majority of the £25 million Higher Education complex, which has now been approved.
The project is another piece in the £1billion regeneration masterplan which has continued to drive forward at pace, despite the restrictions caused by the pandemic.Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
“This is fantastic news, and I am delighted that the secretary of state personally gave the project backing with a visit to the town today. This money will help progress this project at pace.
“We have made our intentions clear to lead the way when it comes to education, innovation and employment and this work does exactly that. We must now seize the momentum and continue with this already impressive development.”
The bid has been drawn up by the Towns Fund Board – a partnership between the council, Dudley College of Technology, University of Worcester, tourist attractions and other key organisations in Dudley. Andrew Lovett, Chair of the Towns Fund Board, added:
“At a time when so many of Dudley’s projects have begun to take shape, including at Black Country Living Museum, of course, this funding will help fulfil the ambitions of everyone in the Borough.
“As we all emerge from the worst impacts of the pandemic, these developments have even greater importance to peoples’ lives.”
Dudley’s scheme includes a ‘university’ style campus and will provide higher education courses for the health sector. The new facility is expected to be up and running by Autumn of 2024.
Dudley College of Technology agreed to work alongside the council to develop the new facility, after building up a degree of expertise through the development of the Dudley Learning Quarter and the creation of the Black Country and Marches Institute of Technology. The teaching and learning that will take place will be driven by the University of Worcester. Neil Thomas, Chief Executive and Principal of Dudley College of Technology, said:
“This marks an exciting time for the borough and is one more piece in the jigsaw of the tremendous regeneration that is taking place. The Dudley bid will help our area recover from the Covid-19 pandemic by increasing higher education opportunities locally.
“By providing training we will be able to lead individuals in to employment, in jobs where the demand for skilled workers out strips the number of people who currently hold the right qualifications for these roles. Roles in health, life-sciences, care and medical sectors.”
The college has formally partnered with the University of Worcester to deliver the courses.
The new university centre will offer higher level skills and qualifications tailored to the needs of local Health and Life Science employers. The new centre will complement the further and higher education offers at Dudley College and the new Black Country & Marches Institute of Technology. The park will also boast the very light rail National Innovation Centre.
Dudley was one of 100 areas across the country invited to bid for a slice of the £178.7 million Towns Fund.
For more information on the projects or full details from the consultation visit regeneratingdudley.org.uk.