Seven colleges in the West Midlands will be spending £36.5 million on projects ranging from improved science and engineering facilities, to a new employment and enterprise centre, after co-investment from the Government was agreed.

The Government is investing £15.1 million in the region, through the Skills Funding Agency, which will be more than matched with £21.4 million investment from colleges.

The funding is the third phase of the Enhanced Renewal Grant (ERG3) which has contributed £330 million across England since May 2010, supporting a total of over £1 billion of investment in college buildings.

Examples of successful ERG3 bids submitted to the Skills Funding Agency, who conducted the assessment and moderation process in the West Midlands include:

* A £6.6 million Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology at Dudley College which will have a heavy emphasis on the development of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, along with functional and enterprise skills

* A £3.2 million project at Walford and North Shropshire College to create rural-skills workshops, a rural-enterprise hub and a rural-skills centre. This project will provide improved and expanded facilities to meet the growing demand for land-based courses, apprenticeships and rural-skills training and reduce unemployment by promoting enterprise and self-employment

* Burton and South Derbyshire College have an £8.1 million project to refurbish their campus and extend performing and creative arts facilities to provide an indoor/outdoor performance space.

Speaking during a visit to Dudley College, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “These projects will transform the learning environment for thousands of students in the West Midlands, providing them with state-of-the-art facilities and modern resources that will help them reach their potential.

“Addressing gaps in skills is an important part of our industrial strategy. This initiative is another example of how Government is working in long-term partnership with industry to give them more confidence to invest, hire and grow.”