A Northumberland woman has returned to the region to take up a role as head of a new learning centre.
Heather Bleavins, 52, from Bamburgh, will head up the delivery of training programmes for Nexus, the public body which owns and manages the Tyne and Wear Metro.
It will include overseeing the move to a new £9.8million Nexus Learning Centre in South Shields, which, when completed, will bring all of the Nexus training needs under one roof.
Heather, who previously worked in learning and development for Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for me. I’m proud to have joined an organisation that has made such a big commitment to the developments of its employees.
“It’s a really exciting time because we’re looking ahead to getting a new fleet of Metro trains, an entirely new train depot, and a new learning centre for staff development and training.”
When completed, the bespoke learning centre will provide training for apprentices, front line leadership and management development, ensuring that all of the 1,000-plus Nexus workforce will benefit from the new facility.
Heather said: “Our new learning centre gives us an amazing opportunity to bring all of our training needs under one roof. When the facility opens it will be my job to ensure it meets the needs of our staff and the wider community.
“It gives our workforce a training base fit for the 21st century, and it will get us out of some of the old temporary classrooms that we currently use for learning and development.
“If we value our employees then we have to value their learning and development. It’s the key to getting them out and delivering the best possible services for the people who rely on our services.”
It is being funded through a £7million grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund Deal through the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and £2.8million from Nexus.
It will include a 70-metre stretch of dual track for Nexus to carry out rail infrastructure training, including track, track points, signalling and overhead line.
The new three-storey training centre itself will eventually house a new computerised Metro driver training simulator, in preparation for the delivery of new Metrocars from 2021.