KEIGHLEY College will benefit from a cash windfall.

West Yorkshire Consortium of Colleges (WYCC) has secured a £5.5m funding boost.

The money will enable low-skilled and low-paid workers to receive training, with the aim of boosting their career progression and reducing dependency on benefits.

The funding, from the European Structural and Investment Fund, is the first of its kind to be secured under a new agreement which formally united seven colleges.

Among those in the consortium is Leeds City College, of which the Keighley campus is a part.

Chris Stott, head of business engagement at Keighley College, said: "I am already talking to the team which secured the funding.

"There are a number of great opportunities for employers to gain funding to upskill existing staff, for example.

"This is relevant across a whole range of sectors where technology or working practices are changing, or where there is a need for succession planning.

"We want to ensure Keighley employers get a fair share of the funding and we would be delighted to talk to any businesses which wish to know more."

The funding has been welcomed by Stephanie Burras, chairman of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership employment and skills panel.

She said: "Our research tells us that supporting in-work progression, through training in collaboration with employers, can have a significant impact on raising people – particularly women – out of low pay and in-work poverty.

"Through projects such as these, we will ensure our workforce has more and higher-level skills to meet the demand of jobs in the future."

Louise Tearle, partnership director for the WYCC, said the local economy would be boosted.

"The funding marks the next phase of partnership working – led by the consortium – which will provide sustainable, long-term solutions to the local economy," she added.

"Our ambitions are to continue to enhance the already extensive contribution we've made to increasing skill levels and the positive impact on individuals and business, through strong collaboration with partners and employers."

Ian Billyard, who chairs the WYCC, said: "The joint venture has elevated our capabilities in terms of collaborative performance and we are very pleased to have been able to secure the latest round of funding as a result."