A GROUND-breaking new technical college for the North East has been given the green light by the Department for Education.
Sponsored by the University of Sunderland, the £10million University Technical College (UTC), will offer hundreds of young people a life-changing future in engineering and advanced manufacturing.
Hitachi Rail Europe and Gestamp Tallent Automotive will also sponsor the college, which will specialise in advanced manufacturing and engineering to help plug the worrying skills gap in this sector.
The region is expected to lose up to 8,500 engineering workers to retirement by 2016, leaving a vital need to educate and train highly skilled young people to join the industry and meet growing demand. Due to open in 2016 with a first intake of up to 150 14-year-olds, the UTC will create up to 40 new teaching posts and have a commitment to increase the number of girls in engineering.
Professor Gary Holmes, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “We are delighted that the bid has been successful, it’s fantastic news for all those involved and testament to the support we’ve had from employers and from the local community.
“The vision of the South Durham UTC is to create a college which makes a significant contribution to the economic development of the region. It will prepare local young people for successful careers in the engineering and manufacturing sectors.”
The South Durham UTC, based at Newton Aycliffe Business Park, will recruit from a wide catchment area and once in full operation will see up to 600 youngsters being educated and trained in technical skills.