By Martin Walker
Construction of the North East’s first University Technical College (UTC) will begin in Newton Aycliffe this summer, it has been confirmed.
The University of Sunderland has revealed the South Durham UTC – an engineering and advanced manufacturing Centre of Excellence – will be built at Long Tens Way on Aycliffe Business Park.
The site sits next to Hitachi Rail Europe’s £82m train-building factory.
The centre – a partnership between the university, Hitachi and Gestamp Tallent – will specialise in advanced manufacturing and engineering training for students aged 14 to 19 from across South Durham and the Tees Valley.
Funded by the Department for Education, it’s due to open in 2016 and will have space for up to 600 youngsters.
Chairman of the trustees at the University of Sunderland, Professor Gary Holmes, said: “We can now confirm that we expect contractors to start work in the summer.
“The building design is at an early stage but will feature a specialist engineering hall with state-of-the-art kit and the facility for large scale work to take place.”