The project in Northallerton, North Yorkshire is the product of what education chiefs say is a unique partnership between Hambleton District Council, the University of Sunderland and York College – providing a range of courses at the [email protected] ([email protected]).
Prior to the project, students living in Hambleton have to travel out of the district to access further and higher education – and many don’t return, which local leaders say leaves a significant void when it comes to filling jobs.
[email protected] is based in one of the five listed buildings on the town’s Treadmills development - the former Northallerton Prison site which is being transformed into a retail, business and leisure complex.
“This new partnership is a first for us – we have not delivered education provision before and to be working with two institutions with great reputations is very exciting,” said Council Leader, Councillor Mark Robson.
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“It will give local people and businesses access to a wide range of learning opportunities, right on their doorsteps. Currently they need to travel out of Hambleton for this – but with [email protected] they will be able to study in our county town and businesses will be able to access highly skilled local people.
“It’s a very exciting new step in the district council’s economic recovery plan and we are delighted to be working with the University of Sunderland and York College.”
Sir David Bell, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, added: “We are looking forward to working with Hambleton District Council and York College on this innovative project.
“At the University of Sunderland, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and are always looking at new ways to support this ambition. Such a partnership has the potential to address a challenge faced by many areas – opening up learning opportunities to the whole community, while retaining valuable skills and positively impacting the local economy.”
The new education hub is expected to focus initially on digital skills – with details of the curriculum currently being finalised. It will feature face to face and blended learning as well as offer opportunities for employers to explore training and development solutions including apprenticeships and Higher Education qualifications.
It will be based in the prison’s former tenement building – which was used to house staff and office accommodation. And it will work alongside C4DI (Centre for Digital Innovation) which opens next month offering business space to help tech companies grow and traditional businesses innovate - the 24 / 7 co-working, meeting and collaboration incubator space will create a community of specialists, giving access to technical skills and expertise.
[email protected] has benefitted from £675,000 allocated by the York & North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership from the Government’s Getting Building Fund, with th remainder of the £1.1million cost funded by the District Council.