It was high fives all round as The Technical Academy in Peterlee turned five this month.
The state-of-the-art education facility, training the region’s next generation of engineers, manufacturers and construction trade workers, celebrated five years in business.
Part of East Durham College, the academy took over a disused industrial unit on the town’s South West Industrial Estate in summer 2010.
Since then there has been continued significant investment in the centre which offers training, primarily for 16 to 18-year-olds, in a number of areas including welding, plumbing, engineering, manufacturing, automotive maintenance, gas and heating, electrical installation and other construction-based disciplines.
Developed to specifically meet the needs of local employers, the academy gives young people the hands-on experience needed to be industry-ready and also the classroom learning to get them to the level required to fully qualify in their chosen vocation.
An important part of the academy’s success has been the excellent links and partnerships it’s created with industry, including companies such as Baxi, CTD Tiles, Esh, Eagle Welding, Grundfos, Megger, Miller, Terraclean and Wates.
Rob Hutchinson, centre manager, said: “The last five years have been fantastic. We’ve recently re-developed the building to improve the facilities on offer and we’ve also expanded the curriculum to make sure we’re ideally placed to meet the employment needs of businesses in the area.
“There’s a real commitment from everyone involved here to attract high-calibre students, young people who want to learn and push themselves so at the end of their time with us they are ready to work in industry, contributing from day one.”
Speaking at the centre’s re-launch in December 2014, following a significant make-over and the changes to the curriculum offer, Geoff Ford MBE , Chairman of South Tyneside manufacturing company Ford Aerospace, said: “It’s vital that we invest in young people now to help address the skills gap which is evident across the North East.
“There are a number of challenges we must overcome if we’re to firmly establish our region as a global leader and ensuring we have talented people coming through to replace experience is certainly one of them.
“I congratulate The Technical Academy for recognising and helping in this challenge.”