As the first college to receive STEM Assured® status in the region; Tyne Metropolitan College has always been at the forefront of providing STEM education and training that addresses industry requirements for relevant, sector skills.
The launch of the IGNITE Centre for Engineering and Innovation; marks another achievement in the College’s long established STEM journey. TyneMet’s expansion of its engineering capacity builds upon the College’s ongoing commitment to supply forward thinking learning facilities that boost local economy.
The IGNITE Centre for Engineering and Innovation will deliver an exceptional academic programme of Engineering related skills and qualifications - providing industry relevant qualifications to employers and industry.
The official opening was led by the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn and Paul Woolston, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership. Guests enjoyed an exclusive tour of the facilities – the IGNITE Centre for Engineering and Innovation houses a range of modern engineering technologies and equipment, along with first class teaching in state-of-the workshops - equipped with the latest industry relevant equipment providing high quality qualifications in Welding, Electrical Engineering, Hydraulics and Machining.
Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, Norma Redfearn said: “What I can see here today is hard work that has made IGNITE happen. In my past position as a Governor at TyneMet, there had always been a vision to provide the local area with industry relevant skills and qualifications, something the college prides itself in.
This is a fantastic space and will benefit employers by providing the long term skills that are industry relevant. We can already see a shift in North Tyneside - employers are crying out for specific skills for vacancies they just can’t fill at the minute - IGNITE is part of the bigger picture to provide qualifications that help businesses grow.”
The centre has been made possible by the significant investment of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP) who awarded the College over £1 million to fund the development; alongside considerable investment from the North Tyneside Strategic Partnership - who in 2013; provided funding for ten lathes which are situated in IGNITE, with further investment from The Platten Family Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland which helped to form the new milling and turning workshop. The North Tyneside Strategic Partnership also provided an additional £11k towards the funding of the interactive learning space, designed to inspire younger generations about careers in Engineering. Founding grants including The Platten Family Fund at the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland awarded TyneMet with £50k which has all helped to create the cutting edge facility, - equipped with state-of-the-art engineering equipment that delivers a wide spectrum of training services to individuals and employers.
Paul Woolston, North East LEP Chair, said: "The opening of the superb IGNITE Centre is a demonstration by TyneMet College of its commitment to the future of young people and the regional economy.
"The North East LEP through its Growth Deal with Government has invested £1m from the Local Growth Fund into Ignite which will teach young people the engineering skills so highly prized by industry.The quality of this facility and its focus on industry relevance has been recognised as STEM assured by the New Engineering Foundation, the first college in the North of England to achieve this status."
The IGNITE Centre features a host of educational spaces - including an area dedicated to the region's industrial heritage. Visits from local school children will enthuse them about careers in engineering and manufacturing whilst learning spaces offer the opportunity to find out more about engineering in a STEM-related capacity. TyneMet’s expansion of its engineering capacity realises the College’s ongoing commitment to supplying forward thinking learning facilities to boost the local economy. IGNITE delivers an industry focused teaching model that promises to meet the needs of local employers and learners.
Jon Vincent, Principal & Chief Executive of TyneMet College, said: “As the first College in the North East to hold the prestigious STEM Assured® standard, we are a leading provider of STEM education in the region and continue to work through innovative partnerships to make a strategic investment in our accommodation and resources to support the economic needs of the region. The College has a rich tradition in Engineering – a department that has not only seen a rapid expansion of a growth in learners but a buy-in from companies and our partners who see a significant and evident investment in developing engineering skills and qualifications to secure the future of skills for the region, allowing us to compete on a global scale by providing global skills.”
The Centre is an extension of the College’s well established engineering division and IGNITE will feature specialist training in – skills that are in high demand, both regionally and nationally. IGNITE offers an inspiring educational space with specialist areas for welding, electrical engineering, milling and turning, fabrication and testing. Through a dynamic approach to the delivery of engineering subject areas, visitors to the centre will be impressed by the innovative exploration of Engineering. IGNITE will welcome primary and secondary school pupils with the key objective of raising the awareness of the exciting, challenging and fulfilling careers available in Engineering and wider industry sectors.