Phil welcomes new £10m South Durham technical college to be built in Newton Aycliffe, in his Sedgefield constituency. This will help provide fresh opportunities for young people in the region to become involved in the technologies of the future.
THE Government has confirmed that a £10M engineering centre of excellence is to open next year.
The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Schools, John Nash, confirmed the Secretary of State had entered into a funding agreement with the Durham UTC Trust, to build The South Durham University Technical College (UTC).
In a letter sent to Sedgefield MP, Phil Wilson, on Thursday, Lord Nash said the UTC will offer 600 places to 14-19 year olds in the North-East which would specialise in advanced manufacturing and engineering.
He also confirmed the college will open in purpose built premises on Long Tens Way, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham.
The site will be close to Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m 730-job factory on the town's business park with building work expected to start in the summer.
It will also be backed by the Department for Education (DfE) as a state-funded but independent school.
Lord Nash said: “UTCs are an important part of our school reforms to improve choice and dive up standards in schools.
“They provide high quality technical education for those young people that choose to follow a more practically orientated education.
“I am therefore delighted that UTC South Durham will open in September 2016 bringing new opportunities for young people in your constituency.”
Ministers have also announced the Northern Futures UTC will open in Newcastle in 2017, to nurture the next generation in IT and healthcare experts.
The plans for the two UTCs are led by the University of Sunderland, with Hitachi and car parts maker Gestamp Tallent supporting the Aycliffe venture.
The development suffered a setback early last year when the DfE favoured bids from London, Peterborough, Lincolnshire and Lancashire, despite it receiving strong backing from Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, and former Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond.
However, despite this it was revived and received approval in August.
On hearing the announcement, MP Wilson, said: “This is excellent news.
“We have been campaigning long and hard for the UTC to be given the go-ahead.
“It gives opportunities for young people in south Durham to be part of technologies of the future.
“I am pleased that Gestamp and Hitachi are investing in our young people because it shows their long term commitment to the area.”