TOP officials from Kirklees College are in crucial talks over cash funding for a planned new campus in Huddersfield.
They are holding detailed negotiations with officials from the Learning and Skills Council over their multi-million pound plans for the site as part of the huge £175m Waterfront project, off Chapel Hill.
And it has brought more than a glimmer of hope for both the college and others involved in the scheme.
Two months ago, the project – set to attract hundreds of jobs – looked in jeopardy after the LSC admitted it had “overstretched” in trying to meet bids for funding.
But now Kirklees College is one of a handful of schemes asked to submit detailed proposals for new consideration by the council.
The campus is centrepiece of the Waterfront plans which include flats and offices on land off Chapel Hill and Manchester Road, on the banks of the River Colne.
But the whole scheme rests on a new £70m campus for Kirklees College being built on the site.
The Learning and Skills Council has revealed that 79 college building projects, including Kirklees, have been put on hold because of a shortage of cash.
Today’s news came as the college celebrated another big windfall.
They, along with 19 others in Yorkshire, are to share an £83m pot of money to provide courses for people out of work for a long time.
It is likely to mean millions for the college in Huddersfield and Dewsbury – a massive boost on the day the jobless tally in Huddersfield soared to 3,480.
Chris Sadler, Principal of Kirklees College, said: “The college is delighted that it can help the economic recovery in Kirklees by offering short supportive training sessions to people who want to get back into the job market quickly.
“We will work with partners to help hundreds of unemployed people in Kirklees.
“This is on top of all the other training and skills initiatives in which we are involved.”
Courses will be matched to the local job market, from retail to hospitality, right up to vocational training at the equivalent of A-level standard.
People accessing the courses will also be able to continue their training once they get a job, ensuring that they get a range of skills which will help them secure sustainable employment.
Regional Minister Rosie Winterton said: “This is great news for Yorkshire with some 20 colleges benefiting from this extra funding.
“It is further evidence that the Government is committed to providing action rather than words and delivering real help to people facing difficulties during the economic downturn.”