First cohort of students make promising progress in state-of-the-art facility.
Northumberland College's brand-new £2.5m STEM Centre is being used to train the next generation of engineers, scientists and technicians.
The striking new build, which opened at the College's Ashington campus in September, is home to specialist science and technology workshops with dedicated facilities that include a class 10,000 clean room, Digital 3D imagery equipment, nanotechnology, microscopes, specialist chemicals and fab labs where budding product designers and entrepreneurs can access the latest in digital fabrication equipment for prototyping.
With the addition of the new state-of-the-art equipment to the College's existing Technology Park, the College has been able to expand its course offer and welcome its first cohort of science learners.
New course provision includes forensic and biomedical sciences, advanced manufacturing, 3D design, cyber security and network engineering.
Northumberland College's STEM Centre Manager, Gordon Crombie, said: "This is a very exciting time for the College and new revolutionary technologies will ensure our students have access to industry- standard equipment and will help to address skills shortages within science, technology, engineering and maths, so students gain real experience for the benefit of themselves, the region and local economy."
The College is also offering a range of short courses, lasting from one day to one week, including, introduction to pneumatics, rapid prototyping in the real world, introduction to programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and introduction to industrial robotics.
Marcus Clinton, Northumberland College Principal and CEO, said: "Our fantastic STEM Centre is training the next generation of engineers, scientists and technicians through courses that are designed with feedback from employers to benefit both students and the local economy.
"Our courses coincide with The North East's growth opportunities within Life Science and Health and Digital, Data and Software, including software development and services, data applications, gaming and virtual reality."
Prospects also continue to be bright within Engineering and vehicle manufacturing. Over 502,000 passenger cars and commercial vehicles are manufactured in the North East annually.
Marcus added: "The sector includes over 240 automotive companies in the North East, generating over £11billion. The sector directly employs 30,000 people and impacts a further 141,000 jobs across the UK. The Subsea and Offshore sector supports over 10,000 jobs and includes over 50 companies."
Northumberland College received £2.3m funding from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership's Local Growth Fund to develop its STEM centre, which supports the LEP's Strategic Economic Plan to deliver over one million jobs by 2024, with STEM qualification take-up amongst young people being a key priority.
The new centre also provides a base for engineering and digital creative media courses at the College.
This latest investment follows £10m that has been injected across all campuses to see a new hair and beauty salon, restaurant and kitchen, engineering and construction academies and new student hub at Ashington. Plus, new workshops for agriculture and arboriculture, learning resource centre and classroom block at Kirkley Hall.
To find out more about Northumberland College's STEM centre please visit www.northumbermberland.ac.uk/STEM.