Newcastle College has outlined plans to invest £650,000 as part of an ambitious new strategy to ensure it continues to play a key role in the North East over the next decade.
The new 10-year strategy has been unveiled by principal Scott Bullock, setting out the college’s vision to develop the skills and talents of its students to succeed in modern enterprise and contribute to the region’s future growth and prosperity.
The plans include significant spending on facilities including a £470,000 investment into its current STEM provision and the installation of industry-standard equipment, including a 5 Axis CNC vertical milling machine – the largest of its kind in an educational setting in the UK.
Further planned investment of £180,000 will also see the launch of a digital hub at the college’s main Rye Hill Campus in September 2021, which aims to be a state-of-the-art teaching facility for higher education, upskilling and reskilling.
The investments form a focal part of the college’s mission to support the region in rebuilding and growing its economy following the challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, working in partnership with employers to train learners of all ages.
Mr Bullock said the college is well placed to build on the strength of existing industrial partnerships, including its award-winning relationship with Port of Blyth, launched in 2019 to develop and deliver pathways into the offshore energy sector, while supporting the Green Skills Agenda as the only college with a representative on the Green Jobs Taskforce.
Mr Bullock said: “This is the first time we have launched a 10-year plan and it is ambitious.
“At its core, this strategy is about how we can make the biggest possible impact on our region over the next decade but it’s important that we set out a clear direction of travel for ourselves and all of the communities and stakeholders we serve across our region.
“The external environment is fast-paced and industry changes quickly, so this plan really outlines the importance of aligning ourselves to the North East LEP’s areas of strategic importance and all of the emerging skills needs and opportunities that come with those changes.”
The strategy launch coincides with the college’s announcement that it is one of only two colleges in the UK to be awarded Gold status from The Skills Builder Partnership.
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Mr Bullock continued: “Collaborations with influential employers in the region are key to our success in supporting growing and emerging industries. It’s important we can align our curriculum to the jobs of the future and help plug skills gaps to ensure future growth, and employers are best placed to tell us what skills and qualifications they will need.
“The Gold status award from The Skills Builder Partnership also recognises the work that we’ve done to ensure that the transferable employability skills that students need to thrive in the workplace are embedded throughout our teaching, at all levels.
“We’re one of only two colleges in the country to receive the award and the only college in the North East. The award is an important kitemark to demonstrate the quality of teaching that Newcastle College students will experience.
“Our goal as we look towards 2030 is to offer flexible, practical education and training that is aligned to real jobs and offers inclusive opportunities for everyone in our community, and be the education provider that this city, region and country needs for a bright future.”