First Growth Deal funded project complete in Leeds City Region

The first project funded by the Leeds City Region Growth Deal has completed works to refurbish a college building in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Saltaire, improving learning facilities for local people.

Shipley College successfully completed a £388,000 project to refurbish the Mill Building, which was made possible by a £119,000 grant from the LEP and West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Local Growth Deal funding. The grant funding, part of the Skills Capital Programme, went towards investment in critical improvements to both the physical and IT infrastructure of the college facilities.

Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (the LEP) said:

“Ensuring students have access to the best possible learning facilities is crucial to supporting skills development and employment prospects.

“Visiting the refurbished college building and meeting some of the students that are benefitting from this investment showed exactly why we are prioritising these infrastructure projects, making learning environments brighter, warmer and ultimately a space for talent to grow and prosper.

“It is particularly pleasing that this is our first Growth Deal funded project to complete, demonstrating the impact of working in partnership to benefit people’s lives and further our economic growth.”

Councillor David Green, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee said:

“Bradford has a growing young population and investing in these essential skills and learning environments is important so that we provide the best quality of education for our young people entering the workforce in the future.

Our Skills Capital programme is helping improve the learning facilities for students across Leeds City Region and this completed project takes us a step closer to achieving our ambition of a ‘NEET-free’ City Region.”

The Grade Two listed Mill Building was established in 1854 by Sir Titus Salt, and was in need of investment to improve the infrastructure and learning environment for students. The building provides teaching facilities for a range of students and classes including Maths, English, Art & Design and Languages. The Growth Deal funding was used to upgrade facilities including new energy efficient windows and lighting, roof works and the refurbishment of the existing teaching and student space. As a result of this investment, learner numbers are expected to increase, supporting more young people into further education and employment.

Nav Chohan, Shipley College Principal said: “The investment from the LEP has not only helped maintain our first class facilities but also allowed us to protect an historic building for another generation.”

Rance Booth Smith Architects have acted as Property Consultants to Shipley College since 1993, advising on all property matters including the design of new buildings, alterations and adaptations and planned maintenance and worked with the College to develop the Mill Building.

Martyn Booker, Project Architect from Rance, Booth Smith said: "It was a pleasure to work on and help preserve such a beautiful historic building which provides a vital teaching resource for the college and the local community."

The LEP secured £79 million through the Growth Deal with government to invest in upgraded college premises and create world class learning environments in the City Region. Four colleges were successful in the first round of the Skills Capital funding including Shipley College, Calderdale College, Kirklees College and Leeds City College. A further four projects have been approved in the second round which includes Bradford College for an Advanced Technology Centre, Shipley College for further investment in the Salt Building and IT upgrade project , Selby College for the Aspiration Building Refurbishment and Extension and Wakefield College to establish an Advanced Skills and Innovation Centre.

This investment builds on work by the LEP and its partners over the past four years that will add an extra £1.4 billion to the Leeds City Region’s economic output by 2020 and has already helped to create an additional 3,200 jobs for local people as highlighted in the LEP impact report.