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Secretary of State announces funding news at the official opening of Dudley Learning Quarter

Dudley College recently welcomed the Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP to officially open the Dudley Learning Quarter. The Minister, along with guests from the education, commerce and the public sector joined students and staff at Dudley Evolve to mark this commemorative event.

The event marked the opening of the first two phases of the Dudley Learning Quarter, which encompasses £28m of new buildings in Dudley town centre. These new developments are known as Dudley Evolve and Dudley Sixth, which offer a wide range of vocational courses and A levels.

Vince Cable with Travel and Tourism studentsDuring the opening ceremony Dr Cable announced to the 150 guests that the college had been successful in securing £2.2m for the third phase of the Dudley Learning Quarter. The Government's Enhanced Renewal Grant will part fund the £6.6m Dudley Advance, a new building which will house a Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology and which is due to be completed by September 2014.

Lowell Williams, Principal at Dudley College explained "Welcoming Dr Cable to open the Dudley Learning Quarter is a great honour for the college and marks an important milestone in its 150 year history.
"The minister has a close family association with the FE sector, and I’m sure his visit to our fantastic new facilities will further endorse his recognition of the important role colleges play in developing the skills future workforces need for the UK to stay competitive.”

"I'm delighted we have secured the grant to part fund Dudley Advance. The Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Technology is going to an amazing facility for young people planning a career in the engineering sector and will enable the college to continue developing the Learning Quarter. It's great news for local industry, the college and Dudley itself."

The ministerial visit gave Dr Cable an opportunity to tour Dudley Evolve, and see the fantastic new facilities first hand. Travel and Tourism student, Nicole Huxley, led the tour and introduced Dr Cable to a range of apprentices, fashion & textiles and travel & tourism, students. These learners were all on hand to explain how the new development was supporting their studying and career ambitions.

Nicole explained "I am really proud to show the Minister around our new college. It's a brilliant place to study and being involved in the event has given me a unique experience of hosting a dignitary guest.
I'm studying travel and tourism and eventually want to work for Emirates airways, so I'm sure I will need lots of skills and practice at dealing with the public and VIP."

Dudley Evolve's new 180 seat theatre took centre stage during the opening ceremony. During his address, Dr Cable was extremely positive about the work that further education colleges engaged in and stated that he had picked up on the 'energy, enthusiasm and ambition at the college from the students who he'd met.' He also emphasised the role the FE sector was playing in the development of skills to re-invigorate British manufacturing and commerce.

A specially commissioned canvass, bearing a quote from the Secretary of State, was lowered onto the stage for Dr Cable and a large group of students to unveiling to a fanfare of lights and music.

More photographs of the event.