The purpose-built facility, which will be situated on the old Billingham Campus School site, off Marsh House Avenue, will help young people get a foot on the jobs ladder by offering a range of vocational courses, underpinned by English and Maths.
The Skills Academy was given the greenlight following a successful bid for EFA funding by Stockton Borough Council, in partnership with Egglescliffe School. Courses at the centre will be delivered by Stockton Riverside College.
Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, Councillor Ann McCoy, said: “I am delighted to see work get under way on the new Skills Academy in Billingham which will provide first class learning facilities to help the Borough’s young people gain the skills they need to find employment.
“For our young people to achieve their ambitions and fulfil their potential, it is vitally important that they can access a range of vocational courses, delivered in a supportive and inspiring environment.”
Work is now underway on the new facility which will cover 950 floor square metres, with a capacity to cater for up to 180 students. The centre is due to open this April with applications now being taken for courses starting in September.
Jason Faulkner, Stockton Riverside College’s Assistant Principal Curriculum, said: “The Skills Academy will provide a new option for post-16 learners that wasn’t available in the Billingham community before.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the town’s community and surrounding areas to access vocational programmes.”
With a focus on English and Maths, the centre will provide Entry and Level 1 vocational courses for people who wish to pursue a career in Creative Arts, Media, Construction, Health and Social Care, Child Care and The Prince’s Trust Team programme, all delivered by Stockton Riverside College.
Stockton Riverside College’s principal, Phil Cook, said: “What has been amazing about this project so far is the power of true partnership; with Stockton Borough Council, Egglescliffe School and ourselves working to provide the best possible services to our young people and communities.”
Simon White, head teacher at Egglescliffe School added: “It has been a privilege to work with Stockton Borough Council and Stockton Riverside College to develop a superb purpose built centre that will offer a curriculum to develop the knowledge and skills of our young people to enhance their employment opportunities.”