The doors of a multi-million college campus have opened to students.
Sunderland College City Campus has welcomed the first 2,000 students to the £29million building.
After 22 months of work the state-of-the-art space in the heart of the city centre has opened.
The campus, in the Park Lane area of the city centre, is home to advanced manufacturing and engineering facilities, a spa for beauty students, an 80-seater restaurant for those completing a catering and hospitality qualification, a flight cabin, for budding travel and tourism professionals and specialist facilities for those learning their trade in the construction industry.
Ellen Thinnesen, principal and chief executive at Sunderland College, said: “City Campus is unlike any other learning environment I have been in.
“We saw the plans of what it would look like and the facilities it would include, but it just doesn’t prepare you for the reality.
A proud, proud moment in the college’s historyEllen Thinnesen
“Opening the doors to City Campus is a proud, proud moment in the college’s history. It is among the most impressive college buildings I have set foot in during my career in education – and I have been to a lot of colleges.”
While the wow-factor of City Campus is something that Ellen is proud of, her delight with the new building is based – in equal measure - on the practical benefits it will bring, changing the way young people learn.
With the rail and road links to the centre of Sunderland the college is already attracting students from beyond the boundaries of the city.
Ellen said: “We’re plugged in to the region – geographically and in terms of the economic needs of the area.
“The new campus is very much focused on professional and technical skills, so it absolutely has to feel like a real-work environment where our young people can get the experience they will need to succeed in their future careers.
“It’s a fast changing world – particularly in industries like engineering – so it was important to meet a specification that aligns with industry standards. And, indeed to ensure that the areas of study we are supporting are in tune with the jobs market and the city’s and wider North East priorities.”
Tiegan McCormick, 17, who’s been studying at the college for two years, completing an NVQ Level 2 in Hairdressing, said: “Our salon looks amazing – it’s like a real, professional salon. It makes me want to work even harder to be ready as quick as I can to start working with real customers.”