Construction work and recruitment are well underway for the innovative North East Futures University Technical College (UTC) being established in Newcastle.

The development is a key part of the next phase of work at the city’s £200m Stephenson Quarter – an ambitious development being led by regionally based Clouston Group.

The UTC, a new type of school offering innovative ways of learning for 14-18 year olds and centred around the specialist subjects of IT and health sciences, is being built alongside Meteor (formerly Phoenix), a planned six-storey office and creative business hub.

Archaeological site inspections have taken place, the site near the Crowne Plaza Newcastle hotel has been cleared and foundation works in progress. Structural steelwork is already starting to appear.

The main contractor Galliford Try has a tight schedule to complete the school project before September 2018.

David Clouston, managing director of Clouston Group, said: “Work is well underway on this exciting next phase at Stephenson Quarter. We’re delighted to see that the UTC is making great progress with recruitment and is getting the wholehearted support from the business community and the City Council.

“Regional and national politicians and the region’s universities, along with local and blue-chip employers are anxious to see the development of this UTC in Newcastle. The school and the Meteor building are mutually beneficial and interlinked. Meteor will accommodate dynamic, high-growth companies and offer the potential for cooperation with the adjacent UTC providing students with work experience and mentoring opportunities.”

Ultimately, some 600 pupils will attend the school, providing jobs for around 40 teachers along with 20 other ancillary staff. The Meteor building may house and create around 800 jobs.

Alison Shaw, UTC education director, said: “One of the school’s big selling points is its central location, making it accessible for pupils right across the region. We’re already experiencing a surge in applications from pupils and parents in relation to the September 2018 intake and the on site development is peaking interest further.”

Stephenson Quarter is based in the centre of the city with easy access to both the Metro and Central station along with great bus and road links.

The recruitment of students has been underway for several months, with a recent largescale event held at Boiler Shop, Stephenson Quarter, for the first intake.

Cllr Ged Bell, Cabinet Member for Inclusive Growth at Newcastle City Council, told the audience at a recent UTC recruitment event at Boiler Shop: “We supported the UTC in finding the right site to achieve their ambitions, and the Stephenson Quarter was the perfect fit given its proximity to both Newcastle’s main transport hub and to the city’s commercial centre.

“We very much welcome their focus on developing skills in our major growth sectors of life sciences and digital technology, working collaboratively with employers who will provide employment opportunities in those sectors. This will help us deliver the right skills for young people across the wider North East, and jobs of the future for generations to come. We wish it every success.”

Bob Paton CBE, chair of North East Futures UTC Board of Trustees; recently retired MD Accenture; and vice-chair, Dynamo, added: “The UTC concept is designed to create a skills pipeline into the industries that are thriving within the region, ensuring the business community attracts and retains home grown talent and UTC leavers can secure high value employment on their doorstep.

“We expect there to be a waiting list and are advising anyone considering this school for their children to act early to avoid disappointment.”

Those interested in finding out more about North East Futures UTC can visit www.nefuturesutc.co.uk.

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