Young people from across Oxfordshire – keen to establish a career in agriculture – are set to benefit from a major new skills centre near Witney which, in-turn, could play a key role in growing the county’s economy.
The Livestock Technology Centre – which was today (17 May) officially opened at Abingdon and Witney College’s Common Leys campus on the outskirts of Witney – will provide a ‘highly-technical’ environment, supporting courses and research relating to livestock husbandry.
The centre has been built to combine theory teaching spaces and a livestock area, capable of supporting the latest agricultural technology.
The Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) secured c£1m of funding towards the project via the government’s Local Growth Fund – this, from an overall Local Growth Fund 3 allocation of £24.16m for Oxfordshire, announced in early-2017.
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 it was launched in 2011, OxLEP – with its partners – has secured over £600m-worth of government and European funding for Oxfordshire, with around 50,000 new jobs created in the county between 2012 and 2017.
In total, OxLEP currently oversees a £2.2bn growth programme for the county.
Nigel Tipple – OxLEP Chief Executive – said: “Such a significant project will, first and foremost, have a positive impact on the agri-tech sector, as well as supporting young people and their skills development.
“It also provides a real opportunity for Oxfordshire to continue to drive dynamic economic growth through this sector – both locally and nationally.
“We are delighted to have secured such a significant Local Growth Fund allocation for this project and we are sure it can be real asset to Abingdon and Witney College’s future growth plans.”