Bid to create new engineering college in Sunderland

Prof Gary Holmes, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland.
Prof Gary Holmes, Pro-Vice Chancellor at the University of Sunderland.
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WEARSIDE’S university is continuing bidding to create a new engineering college.

The University of Sunderland is one of the lead partners in a bid to build the North East’s first University Technical College (UTC), specialising in engineering, and it is being resubmitted to the Department for Education (DfE.)

Despite missing out last month in the DfE’s latest round of approvals for six new UTCs across the country, a revised bid to establish one in County Durham is now underway.

Professor Gary Holmes, pro-vice chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “The North East region suffers higher general unemployment than do other regions. However, the engineering industry is in good shape in our region and has been suffering from skills shortages and unfilled vacancies.

“Therefore a major new impetus in education and training is needed to help build a highly-skilled workforce for a prosperous future. There is an opportunity here to make a major contribution to the region’s prosperity as well as to the life chances and future security of our young people.”

If approved, it is hoped to open the UTC from September 2016 in Newton Aycliffe Business Park. It will have an intake of up to 150 students each year, to be recruited from across the South Durham and Teesside area, and when full, will have between 550 and 600 students.

Students usually join UTCs at the age of 14, but can also do so at 16 when they leave school.