• Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

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Ground breaking at UTC South Durham

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 12.58.35Friday marked a momentous occasion when the ground was broken on UTC South Durham. Partners and local supporters met on site at Newtown Aycliffe to officially mark the start on site of the new University Technical College.

The £10m UTC South Durham will focus on teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects and advanced manufacturing to young people age 14 – 19, with students gaining general and technical qualifications in a business-like learning environment. Applications are open now for students interested in high-tech careers, for entry into Years 10 and 12 when the new UTC opens in September 2016.

Tom Dower, Principal Designate of UTC South Durham, talked through the plans with Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield and Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council. The three were joined by Shirley Atkinson, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Sunderland and Darren Cumner of Hitachi Rail Europe, who, alongside Gestamp Tallent, are the UTC South Durham founding members.

Phil Wilson MP said: “The UTC is welcome news for Newton Aycliffe and South Durham. It will provide young people with the skills, education and ambition to engage with the industries of the future. The skills they will acquire can help secure the long-term future of the business park, which will in turn secure ongoing employment opportunities for future generations.”

Also there were representatives from appointed construction contractors Willmott Dixon, project managers Mott MacDonald and Ryder Architecture whose design for UTC South Durham reflects the engineering focus of its curriculum. The new school will feature a triple-height atrium, capable of housing large scale work or machinery.

Tom commented: “I’m thrilled to see work on the new school underway. UTC South Durham will specialise in advanced manufacturing and engineering, sectors vital to the future of the region and ones that we have marked skills gaps in. Applications are open now and we have already had young people sign up to start with us in Years 10 and 12, when we open next September.”

Shirley Atkinson added: “University of Sunderland is sponsoring UTC South Durham because we’re committed to education and because we have a civic role to support regional economic growth. The purpose of the UTC is very simple; to meet the challenges of the future we need many more talented young people trained and prepared for working in the engineering and advanced manufacturing sector.

“With the impressive Hitachi Rail Europe plant and over 200 advanced manufacturing businesses right on the doorstep, our new UTC is ideally placed for students to directly connect with businesses from day one, explore careers in these industries and set themselves up for their futures.”

Darren Cumner, Manufacturing Plant Manager for Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Hitachi Rail Europe will help establish the UTC, along with the other co-sponsors to ensure the students receive the very best education needed to help them into employment or further education. Our vision is that these young people will become the future engineers, technicians and managers at our plant in Newton Aycliffe. Given our ambitions for growth, we hope that some will continue to pursue a career within our future UK rail operation, or go on to work in Hitachi’s rail business around the globe.”

Peter Gallone, Plant Director at Gestamp Tallent commented: “Gestamp Tallent are keen to support the development of the UTC here on the Aycliffe Industrial Park. In Gestamp we rely heavily on people and it is crucial they have the right skills. Our plant in Aycliffe is no exception. The UTC will give future generations the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of the career options available within our industry, as well as giving them the opportunity to learn key skills from an early age. There are large skills deficiencies within engineering and manufacturing across the UK so having the UTC here in Aycliffe is the ideal platform to address this.”

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