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6 December, 2006 - 15:49 By Staff Reporter

New state-of-the-art centres set to benefit soccer stars

The next generation of premiership footballers could be under the care of locally trained therapists following a £10 million plan to build two state-of-the-art skills and business centres in the East of England.

Based in Bedfordshire and Harlow, between them the centres are expected to create over 120 long term jobs, train over 1,000 people every year and create almost 200 new companies.

The £4 million Kingsland Skills and Enterprise Centre at Houghton Regis, Beds, will include training, educational and skills development for the construction industry and sports treatments, including five incubation units for new businesses while a nearby building will be refurbished to provide a sports treatment clinic and courses in conjunction with the Football Association.

It will also provide the administration hub for Bedfordshire’s Skills Institute which aims to boost the skills levels of people in Bedfordshire and better meet the needs of current and future employers.

The centre will receive £2m from the East of England Development Agency. Over 1,000 people will be able to receive training at the new skills centre every year.

Around 27 jobs will be created by the opening of the new centre over the next four years. Over 50 businesses will be assisted at the site in the first year alone.

The £5.5m Harlow Incubation Centre at Great Eastern House on Edinburgh Way will cater specifically for start-up, growth, and knowledge-based businesses.

Following competition in mid 2008, it is expected that the centre will create 90 jobs and 135 new businesses.

Mark Aspinall, head of enterprise at EEDA, said: “Not only will it help to enhance the numbers of innovative businesses created in the area and assist their growth and development, but also it will help grow the small-business base of both Harlow and the surrounding area.

“There will be a clear emphasis on encouraging firms to undertake research and development projects too. We hope to see the development and growth of new businesses in the area.”

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