A further 70 further education colleges
have been selected as Centres of Vocational Excellence (CoVES) following an
"exceptional" response to the second phase of the Learning
and Skills Council programme designed to meet the skills needs of the
Less than seven months after introducing the scheme with the selection
of 16 'Pathfinder' colleges to set the standard, the LSC is now almost
half way towards meeting its target that 50 per cent of all general FE
colleges in England will have least one department accredited with
CoVE status by 2004.
John Harwood, Chief Executive of the Learning and Skills Council,
said: "We have received an exceptional response to the
development of our Centres of Vocational Excellence programme
following the establishment of the 16 'Pathfinder' colleges and a
series of regional conferences in 2001.
"We received no fewer than 370
applications in this second round, from which 70 were selected as
matching the priority skills needs required in their local areas,
their regions and in the country as a whole.
"The sector is clearly rising to the
challenge and it is particularly encouraging that many of the
applications we received were joint bids from colleges, working
"The CoVEs programme is a
cornerstone of the Government's policy to reinvigorate technical and
vocational specialisation within the further education sector. We have
now selected a total of 86 colleges as centres of excellence - putting
us well on course to meet our target of 175 by 2004.
"Together, these centres will
underpin a modern further education sector, contributing fully to the
nation's vocational skills and the drive to boost
The successful colleges will now have to
complete an audit and development plan supported by local Councils and
the Learning and Skills Development Agency, where required, by 15th
March 2002. These audit and development plans will need to be formally
The £100 million three-year initiative
is aimed at improving vocational skills by developing a nationally
co-ordinated network of CoVES. This will comprise a strategic mix of
high quality local, regional, sectoral and national specialisms to
meet skills needs.
Cambridgeshire centres announced
are Cambridge Regional College/Peterborough Regional College/Isle
College/CRC, their specialism is Care & Early Years Construction