Ian Austin

Independent for Dudley North

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PROMISE KEPT AS DUDLEY WINS “STRONGER TOWNS” FUNDING FOR NEW HI-TECH CAMPUS

Dudley wins Government backing for new university centre to bring new jobs to the area

Dudley MPs Ian Austin and Mike Wood have welcomed today’s government announcement of £25 million for Dudley from the Stronger Towns Fund.

The new funding is on top of the £30 million announced for the Institute of Technology announced in May. It is the result of a long-running campaign to develop in Dudley a new university-level technical skills and apprenticeships centre to provide top level qualifications in the town, the biggest place in the country with no higher education campus.

It will transform the old rail terminal off Tipton Road at the bottom of Castle Hill which will also contain the new £30 million Institute of Technology announced earlier this year. The site is also earmarked for the new Very Light Rail Innovation Centre.

The new centre will be developed by Dudley College, universities and local businesses to train young people for jobs in new, growing and hi-tech industries like advanced manufacturing, digital technologies, low carbon industries, autonomous, electric vehicles and healthcare.

The funding follows visits to the town in April and May by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss MP who was responsible for government spending and James Brokenshire who was then the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Austin and Wood have met ministers and civil servants and spoken up in Parliament countless times in the decade-long campaign to bring new skills and good jobs to Dudley.

The new Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick MP, wrote to Austin and Wood to announce the funding saying:

“We hope this opportunity will help unlock further growth, building on the work already started through government funding to boost innovation and productivity in the Black Country, and improve the standard of living through improved connectivity, skills and access to more high value jobs.”

Ian Austin said:

“This is the best news for Dudley we could have had! I promised at the election to campaign for a new hi-tech skills centre to attract new industries and good, new well-paid jobs to Dudley. I work hard to keep my promises so I’m absolutely delighted our campaign has paid off.

“No one is prouder of Dudley than me. We lit the spark that fired the industrial revolution but we all know we’ve struggled to attract new investment to replace the jobs we lost in traditional industries. This new campus will bring new investment, new businesses and new jobs in exciting new hi-tech industries to Dudley.

“I’ve always said we need to make education and skills our number one priority and this is exactly what we need to give Dudley a bright future and make it a strong town again.”

Mike Wood said:

“Strong technical and vocational skills are absolutely vital for our borough’s future success and prosperity, and for the opportunities that local people will have.

“This development will make a massive difference to what is possible for young people developing their careers, and will transform the gateway into Dudley to make it somewhere people want to go.

“That can only be good news for our whole community and that’s why I’ve been so pleased to work together with Ian, the College and the Government to make it happen.”

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