Company gives learning project a big cash boost

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RIO Tinto Alcan has donated £65,000 to a new educational project for Ashington.

The company has provided the funds for the Ashington Learning Partnership as part of its Legacy Initiative following the closure of its Lynemouth smelter.

The money will fund a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) programme, the conversion of a science lab at Bothal Middle School into a state-of-the-art STEM room and a new Vocational and Technical Skills Centre at Ashington High School to enhance learning in construction, the built environment, hair and beauty, manufacturing, product design, engineering and hospitality.

In the long-term it is hoped the facility will be available for adult education night classes.

Around 3,000 students from Central and Wansbeck first schools, Bothal and Hirst Park middle schools and Ashington High School will have the opportunity to benefit from the programmes.

Rio Tinto Alcan Regional Economic Development Director John McCabe said: “For more than 40 years our Lynemouth plant has played a major role in south east Northumberland communities by supporting the local economy and helping charities, voluntary organisations and other good causes.

“With the closure of the smelter we are keen to ensure we leave behind benefits that will last and continue to improve people’s lives long after we have gone.

“We are pleased to be supporting the Ashington Learning Partnership to deliver this new and exciting educational programme. The partnership has an enviable track record of working with local businesses on experiential projects which help learners to develop a wide range of key skills.”