A full meeting of Burnley Council has been asked to approve an investment in the future of Burnley College.
The council’s executive has recommended that a special meeting of the full council on 4th November agree a loan by the authority to enable the college to expand its facilities.
“This is an investment in improving the skills of future generations and a bold move to aid local businesses in their economic recovery and future development.,” said council leader Councillor Mark Townsend.
“It will benefit not just the college but also the whole borough for many years to come. It will help the college to expand its top class provision for young people, adult learners, university level students and the businesses that will employ them, across a wide range of sectors and in an array of exciting roles at the forefront of innovation and technologies.”
The loan would be repaid by the college over 15 years.
Councillor Sue Graham, executive member for resources and performance management, said: “It’s important that the council supports the college in its future development. This is a commitment to helping it provide top class facilities that will benefit not only the students who use them, but also provide the skills and high attainment that will bring knock-on benefits for the whole borough. The college will repay the loan, but this is an investment in our borough which will also repay itself in many other ways.”
College principal Karen Buchanan said: “Burnley College has ambitious plans to continue to provide outstanding learning and teaching in new, state-of-the-art facilities. We are very proud of our long-standing partnership with Burnley Council as we continue to realise those ambitions.”
A report to the executive said not providing the loan would mean the college would have to turn away more than 800 students, stop plans to deliver a sports therapist degree and a strength and conditioning degree, reduce the number of elite athletes that study at the college, and limit the growth of its university, apprenticeship, and business training courses due to the knock-on impact on the available capacity of its existing buildings.
The loan would be used to help cover the cost of building a specialised teaching block comprising of 19 further classrooms and specialist areas for health and science provision, and extending the existing sports centre to provide three classrooms, an elite athlete gym with running track, a dance and fitness studio, and a sports therapy space with hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and cryotherapy suite. The extension will support the college’s unique elite athlete programme created to provide student athletes with the training they need to develop their professional sports careers alongside their other studies.
The investment by the council will also support the college’s work to assist local businesses in improving the skills of their staff and providing a workforce for the future.
Examples of this work include: