A new training centre delivering much sought after construction skills will help school pupils secure exciting career opportunities.

Excelsior Academy sponsor Lord Laidlaw officially opened the Laidlaw Construction Training Centre in the school as part of its ever-growing programme of support to help pupils find their dream job.

Teachers and specialist trainers will deliver a two-year City and Guilds diploma course to Year 12 and 13 Excelsior College students.

Joe Temple, Excelsior Academy Subject Development Leader of Engineering and Construction, said: “We will be teaching the students brick laying, block work, carpentry and joinery, all skills which are in high demand as the construction industry really picks up again.

“House builders in particular prize these skills and our course is an introduction to see if they like the practical side of the work.

“In the long-term we want to see if we can get the students work experience to take their careers forward in that way as well.”

The new construction centre boasts a workshop with individual work bays for each student, precision machinery and tools for students to work with and an IT room with the latest PCs and technology to underpin their course theory work.

Lord Laidlaw said: “I’m delighted to be opening this centre, I think it is a great advance for Excelsior.

“It is something I have been keen to support. I think it will make a great difference for a lot of our young people and I wish them every success.”

Joe added: “The students will receive an industry recognised qualification on completion of the course which specifically prepares them for the workplace.

“The construction training centre is a major commitment by Lord Laidlaw and the academy and a real coup for the students to give them the best possible grounding for a successful career as a tradesperson.

“It will help address the national demand for bricklayers, builders and joiners to fill new jobs that the house building boom is creating.”

Gaia Technologies has sponsored the IT suite in the construction centre where they have worked to fit the latest technology. Any businesses interested in sponsoring the centre as a whole or in offering work experience, can contact Dawn Charlton, Excelsior Academy Business Manager, on Tel: 0191 228 8400.

Excelsior Academy specialises in business enterprise. It runs its own apprenticeship programme placing former pupils into paid jobs within the school.

It also enjoys successful apprenticeship partnerships with the Engineering Training Centre on Scotswood Road and with intu, the retail giant which owns both the Metro Centre in Gateshead and Newcastle’s Eldon Square.