The first phase of a £2.6m investment in a new training centre at Tyne Metropolitan College (TyneMet) to boost construction skills in the North East has got under way with the official groundbreaking.


The flagship facility is being created through a partnership between Tyne Coast College, which operates TyneMet, architect Norr, builder Tolent and project manager Faithful & Gould.


Norma Redfearn CBE, the Mayor of North Tyneside, and Bill Midgley OBE, Chair of Tyne Coast College, jointly dug the first turf from the development site.

The centre, at TyneMet’s Coast Road campus in Wallsend, aims to boost the region’s construction sector by targeting key training development to eradicate a skills gap.


Its full and part-time programmes will include apprenticeships and other industry standard qualifications to school-leavers and adults.

Scheduled to open in September, the two-storey centre will have classrooms, learning hubs and demonstration areas, all with state-of-the-art equipment including IT facilities.


Trades covered will include bricklaying, plastering, dry-lining, painting and decorating, plumbing, joinery, and electrical engineering, including solar installation.

Mayor Redfearn said: “I am delighted to have been invited to the opening of this new training centre at TyneMet College.


“As the council, we believe it is vital that we invest in our young people’s future and ensuring that they have all the tools in place to reach their full potential, and this training centre will provide them with just that.


“The centre will also support the overall economic landscape of the North East, delivering skills the future generations will need in a sector that is crucial for the growth of our region.”


Mr Midgley said: “This facility will provide the most up to date industry standard training in this region.


“It is evidence of Tyne Coast College’s commitment to delivering high-quality skills that meet the needs of individuals looking to boost their careers and businesses who require highly trained employees.


“This investment is a tremendous boost to the North East’s construction industry, now and in the future.”


Dr Lindsey Whiterod CBE, chief executive of Tyne Coast College, said: “The centre will greatly support the region’s economic growth and competitiveness.


“Demand on the construction sector is growing, but that is running hand in hand with a recognised gap in skills.


“This skills gap must be reduced or eradicated, and that is exactly what this new and important training centre aims to do.


“This development shows how seriously Tyne Coast College takes training and reflects our awareness of where and how it must be enhanced.”


The new centre will replace Tyne Coast College’s Longbenton-based TMC facility, recognised as offering one of the North East’s widest packages of construction-based training.


TMC’s programmes include courses for school-leavers and apprenticeships and flexible courses for adults looking to re-train, upskill or begin a career in the construction and building services sector.


The new build will deliver a phased expansion of the TMC curriculum, allowing Tyne Coast College to offer additional higher-level courses, HE and skills training.

Enrolment for the centre has opened and more information about its programmes is available by visiting www.tmc-campus.co.uk or emailing enquiries@tmcbenton.co.uk


Details about all TyneMet courses and learning options are available by visiting www.tynemet.ac.uk or calling 0191 229 5000.