Announcement of £6million Investment

New College Durham have announced that they will invest in their campus with a new build project to meet the needs of the local and regional economy. The new development will focus on ensuring they have world-class facilities for teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects.

The development has been designed to meet the needs of the local community which has recently experienced an increase in financial sector jobs, with start-ups such as Atom Bank creating a new demand on skills; alongside the growth in the leisure economy. In addition there is a real need to replace skilled workers who are approaching retirement age. Durham is also set to experience a 10% increase in school leavers between 2019 and 2023.

As well as serving local needs, the new facilities would help the College achieve wider regional priorities, which are set by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP). Amongst the top four priorities are advanced manufacturing, sub-sea and off-shore, renewable technologies, health and life sciences and digital industries.

John Widdowson, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Durham, comments: “The new development has been designed to respond to our very specific local and regional economic needs. As a college we already have a growing presence in STEM and related subjects including applied science, engineering, construction and the build environment, manufacturing and digital industries.”

In the coming years it’s expected that there will be more of a focus on directing young people into these subjects so they can secure jobs in these growing sectors. It’s also anticipated that many of these jobs will be at a higher skills level (3, 4 and 5).

Widdowson continues: “as a college, we’re exceptionally well placed to deliver these subjects to a higher level. We have a growing higher education offer with a range of programmes and we have students who start from level 1, 2 or 3 and progress right the way through with us to degree level. We work closely with employers when developing our curriculum to ensure that our students have the skills and expertise needed to go into the workplace and succeed. We also have flexible study options and offer higher and degree apprenticeships so students can learn the skills on the job, whilst still gaining the qualifications businesses need.”

New College Durham are also one of only 16 colleges in the country to have been shortlisted to become an Institute of Technology (IoT). These new facilities would ensure they have the teaching space and equipment to meet the demands on being and IoT. However, the College are committed to the development regardless of the outcome of this bid.

The development is currently in the planning stage and, if approved, work will begin in October 2018. It’s expected to be operational by September 2019.