Investment links students to industry

STEM engineering at Northumberland College.

Northumberland College has invested more than £14million in industry-focused facilities.

Some £2.5million has been spent on a new, purpose-built STEM centre at its Ashington campus, while its Blyth facility has strengthened its dedicated offshore and commercial training support, solely focusing on the renewable energy sector.

This is in addition to delivering hundreds of vocational and academic courses across seven sites, including Ashington, Kirkley Hall, Berwick and Hexham.

It follows widespread changes in the curriculum to better meet students’ and employers’ needs.

Gordon Crombie,head of the college’s STEM Academy, said: “We’re now teaching and delivering courses in very different ways to place our students at the heart of industry and integrate the skills that employers are searching for into many of our learning programmes.

“By linking the curriculum to the local business landscape, we can work very much in sync with regional employers, often in diverse, traditional or rural industries, to identify the skills they require both now and in the future, as well as deliver what young people say they need.

“Engagement on all levels is crucial. Having implemented a new approach to learning, we’d like to tell local organisations that we’re very much interested in creating new partnerships and are looking for partner companies to explore new opportunities. There are many successful businesses on our doorstep that could benefit from a collaborative approach to skills development, therefore if the college can become a facilitator and bring employers closer to education, we can arm students with the right industry tools to maximise their employability and skills levels.”

The STEM Academy liaises closely with many enterprise partners to provide apprenticeship and diploma opportunities. This means that academic, vocational and Standards-based courses and apprenticeships can be designed in conjunction with employers and tailored accordingly.

Advanced STEM facilities, especially in the areas of engineering, robotics and digital technologies such as creative media, also support the North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Strategic Economic Plan which aims to deliver more than one million jobs by 2024.

For more details on STEM courses, business opportunities or September enrolment at Northumberland College, einf 01670 841200 or visit www.northumberland.ac.uk

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