MP Michelle Donelan Visits New £8m STEM Centre at New College Durham

On Thursday 10 October, Minister for Children and Families, Michelle Donelan MP visited New College Durham to see the College’s new £8m STEM centre and find out more about Institutes of Technology.

Institutes of Technology are innovative collaborations between further education providers, universities and employers that will specialise in delivering higher technical education with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects; and with an aim to close skills gaps in key STEM areas.

New College Durham is the lead college for the North East Institute of Technology proposal which was successful in the government-led Institutes of Technology competition; working in collaboration with Newcastle University, regional Further Educations providers and key regional employers, including Nissan and the Esh Group.

During her visit, Mrs. Donelan met with the College’s employer partners and discovered how, along with their input into the North East Institute of Technology, these businesses assist with the College’s apprenticeship provision, work placements and course development.

Mrs Donelan took a tour of the new STEM development at New College Durham which will be home to the North East Institute of Technology at New College Durham; seeing the state of start facilities and equipment that is available to students.

The MP for Chippenham also took time to look around the College’s Early Years department, Health and Social Care area and the Media and Digital Suite to learn more about how New College Durham will be delivering the new T Level qualifications in Childcare and Digital (as well as Construction) from 2020.

Mrs Donelan’s visit coincided with a two day Health and Wellbeing event running at the College in support of World Mental Health Day, and she was able to spend some time joining in with some of the activities promoting awareness for mental health and wellbeing.

Education Minister Donelan said:

“It was fantastic to visit New College Durham and to meet their amazing staff and students. They are doing some brilliant work with leading employers like Esh Group and Nissan to help ensure more people are able to gain a range of important skills in everything from digital to construction. I heard how the college is preparing to deliver our new T Levels from September 2020 and the opportunities that they believe will unlock for their students”

John Widdowson, Principal and Chief Executive of New College Durham, said: “I’m delighted to showcase our fantastic new STEM centre. As well as providing cutting edge equipment to train both the current and future workforce, we hope the STEM Centre at Framwellgate Moor will form part of a regional partnership of employers, colleges and other educational providers to create an outstanding Institute of Technology for the North East.”