THE first further education project under the Government's Private Finance Initiative has been hailed as a milestone by Scottish secretary Michael Forsyth.
The Pounds 3.5 million further education centre in Stirling was initiated by Falkirk College of Further and Higher Education and will be built through a consortium led by the Gleeson Group and including the Bank of Scotland.
Mr Forsyth said the college had been aware of the demand for a centre in Stirling, one of the largest Scottish towns with no further education facilities.
The centre would provide Stirling with 300 full-time equivalent student places with potential for another 100, offering courses geared to the area's specific needs.
"It paves the way for other further education colleges who I know are keen to follow this pathfinding project, and involve private finance in their plans for the future," said Mr Forsyth.
Falkirk's principal, Graham Clark, said: "This announcement brings to fruition a long held ambition of the local authorities in central Scotland to create a vocational education centre in Stirling and is a significant step for the college towards its mission to become mid-Scotland's polytechnic."