Staff from East Durham College, Geoff Ford of Ford Aerospace

Construction and Engineering Training Centre Holds Re-launch

A STATE of the art facility which will train the next generation of engineers and manufacturers has been relaunched today after an extensive makeover.

The Technical Academy, part of East Durham College in Peterlee, offers training programmes for 16 to 18 year-olds in a number of areas including welding, plumbing, engineering, automotive and construction.

Re-developed to specifically meet the needs of local employers, the academy will give young people the hands on experience needed to be industry ready and classroom learning to get them to the level required to fully qualify in their chosen vocation.

The re-launch gave local employers the chance to look around and meet staff and students and also featured two high profile guest speakers, Geoff Ford MBE and David Cann.

Geoff is Chairman of South Tyneside manufacturing company Ford Aerospace, which is a highly successful specialist in the precision machining and pressing of component and assemblies for the aerospace, defence and related high technology industries.

He talked about the challenges and opportunities the North East faces within the engineering and manufacturing sectors and praised The Technical Academy and East Durham College for being so important to the region's continued growth.

Geoff said: "I am delighted to be part of the re-launch of The Technical Academy, which will train the next generation of engineers and manufacturers. 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."

David Cann is General Manager of Peterlee car parts manufacturer Mecaplast UK. He addressed the audience on his career in the automotive sector and the challenges he's overcome to get to where he is today.

Rob Hutchinson, Centre Manager at The Technical Academy, said: “We felt that after four successful years, the time was right to invest in the academy and give it facelift. We've 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 needs of businesses in the area.

"There's a real commitment from everyone involved in The Technical Academy to attract a high calibre of young people, 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."