The secretary of state said the three year cash injection would be made available after giving his seal of approval to the partnership set up by the three national organisations to help raise education and training standards for over 16s.
The groups came together to ensure strategic lifelong learning partnerships are in place by 1999. They will now be calling on local organisations to co-ordinate partnerships in their own areas and bid for some of the cash.
Bryan Davies, chair of the Further Education Funding Council, said: 'Existing collaboration has been a great success. These partnerships will add value to existing local arrangements by ensuring greater coherence, addressing unnecessary duplication and ensuring that education and training responds to the needs of individuals and employers in the local area.'
`It will ensure that a constructive relationship develops between regional development agencies, FEFC regional committees and local needs. We will monitor the early work of partnerships and promote best practice.'
David Compston, TEC national council education and training committee chair, said: 'Our approach will help to ensure effective education business links, strengthen the preparation of young people for employability and improve the local skills base.'