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City of Oxford College gets £2m investment from the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

21 October 2020


Activate Learning is delighted to announce it has been awarded more than £2m to create state of the art facilities for its hospitality and catering programmes at the City of Oxford College.

The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) secured £2.17m of funding for the project via the government’s Local Growth Fund.  Activate Learning will use this to develop new teaching and training areas and create a new hub to their city centre-based campus.

Work has already started on the project, which is due to be completed by June 2021, and will cost £3.5m overall, with additional funding for the work coming from Activate Learning.

Sally Dicketts CBE, Chief Executive of Activate Learning, said the investment would play an important role in providing the county with the skills it needs for future growth.

She added: “Hospitality and tourism has long been a key pillar to the Oxfordshire economy and I believe it will continue to play an important role for the county’s recovery post-COVID.

“We have worked closely with key partners in the sector over the years to ensure our programmes provide students with the skills employers need.

“As we go into a period of great uncertainty I think our students, and these amazing new facilities, will play a vital role in re-energising a sector that has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Students will be able to hone their skills through trial and error in a real-world, kitchen environment and I can’t wait to see students in the space and working with our passionate teaching staff.”

Oxfordshire has previously enjoyed a considerable visitor economy offer, including Oxford city centre, Bicester Village, the Cotswolds and Blenheim Palace.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism had supported 10 per cent of all employment in Oxfordshire and contributed £2.17billion to the local economy.

This project to modernise the kitchen facilities and update the teaching spaces at City of Oxford College has had input from Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck Group, which has worked with Activate Learning to develop our curriculum for our hospitality and catering programme.

OxLEP is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England playing a key role in driving forward economic growth and – by 2021 – it’s expected that central Government will have invested over £12bn into the UK economy via the Local Growth Fund.

The Local Growth Fund investment aims to allow LEPs to use their local knowledge to promote growth in their individual regions.

Analysis has shown that for every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested, £4.81 in benefits could be generated.

Since its inception in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured almost £660m-worth of government funding for Oxfordshire, which has seen around 48,000 new jobs created in the county to-date.

In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.

Nigel Tipple – OxLEP Chief Executive – said: “As we know, the hospitality sector has regrettably been one of the sectors hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With this in mind, such investment – like the Local Growth Fund investment we have secured working with Activate Learning – has never been more important and we hope it will inspire many young people to enjoy careers in hospitality and associated sectors at this critical time.”

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