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Funding secured for ambitious £16m Ashford College investment

Funding has been secured for a new £16 million college in Ashford that will boost education and skills provision in the fast-expanding town.

Providing first class further education and skills facilities fit for the 21st Century is one of the key development aims of town and will play a key part in Ashford’s future growth and prosperity.

The new town-centre campus, provided by the highly-regarded Hadlow Group, will be completed in early 2017 and open for the new term in September that year. The college will focus on providing skills for the manufacturing, construction, technology and service sectors, linked with a strengthened role for local businesses and future employers.

Hadlow Group, which also runs Hadlow College and West Kent College, has secured £9.8m to help deliver phase 1 of the project from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Skills Capital Fund. The first stage of the new campus will involve creating 5,112m2 of floor space and will replace existing poor quality facilities, leading to an improved learning environment to support more than 900 additional students.

Ashford Borough Council Leader Cllr Gerry Clarkson says: “This is excellent news and means at long last we can realise our vision for a further and higher education college right in the heart of the town at Elwick Road, adjacent to the International Station. This will greatly assist in the plans to rejuvenate the town centre.

“A highly skilled local workforce is vital for the success of our versatile economic growth in Ashford. The college will help put Ashford on the map, which is why we recently agreed to provide funding support, and we are very much looking forward to seeing it.”

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