>Hereford University on The...

A £5.56m funding package for Hereford's proposed new university has been agreed by a local enterprise partnership (LEP).

Marches LEP's move follows a submission of a business case to the organisation from the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) supporting the development of new learning and teaching facilities.

Earmarked for land on Hereford's Enterprise Zone, it will aim to address the shortage of skilled graduate engineers in the region across the advanced manufacturing, agri-engineering, data, defence, resources security, and sustainable/smart living technology sectors.

The £5.66m is the second tranche of a wider funding package secured via the government's Local Growth Fund by the Marches LEP for NMiTE and is subject to the project achieving a number of targets, including the number of learners enrolled and jobs created.

LEP chair Mandy Thorn said: "The LEP Board met last week and welcomed the NMiTE team, which presented its updated plan to us following the submission of its business case. The Board agreed to allocate funds, subject to conditions being met, to go towards the creation of three centres on the Hereford Enterprise Zone for graduate, undergraduate and higher apprenticeship students.

"The board was encouraged to hear from NMiTE about the significant levels of interest from private sector organisations that will deliver a further £5m investment to bring this project to fruition."

The go-ahead by the LEP board follows the initial £2.34m deal signed in August which has been used to support the transformation of the former Robert Owen Academy in Blackfriars Street, now known as Blackfriars, for future students to learn practical engineering skills.

Professor Elena Rodriguez-Falcon, president and chief executive of NMiTE, added: "This is welcome news for NMiTE having received its full support from the Marches LEP of £8m.

"Work has already begun at Blackfriars, our first major teaching centre, which is already making a significant difference to meeting our milestone targets. We are looking forward to the new developments at the Enterprise Zone."