MORE than £2 million has been awarded to an Oxford college to create facilities for its hospitality and catering programmes.

Activate Learning announced the funding for the City of Oxford College on Wednesday.

Money was secured by the Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) from the Government’s Local Growth Fund.

It will be used to develop new teaching and training areas, and create a new hub for the city-centre based campus.

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Work has already started on the project, which is due to be completed by June of next year, and will cost £3.5 million overall, with additional funding coming from Activate Learning.

Sally Dicketts, chief executive of Activate Learning, said: “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.

Oxford Mail:

“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.”

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

OxLEP champions the county’s economic potential and aims to develop the local economy.

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Since its inception in March 2011, OxLEP, with its partners, has helped secure almost £660 million of Government funding for the county, seeing about 48,000 new jobs created.

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.”

OxLEP is one of 38 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in England, and currently oversees a £2.2 billion growth programme for Oxfordshire.