Investment means £9m facelift for college

A £9MILLION investment in Northumberland College will see a third of the cash poured into Kirkley Hall.

The campus near Ponteland will be given £3million to build state-of-the-art arboriculutre and tractor workshops, an education block with eight classrooms and an open learning suite and resource centre.

The rest of the funds will be allocated to the college’s main Ashington centre to improve workshops, refurbish the ground floor to include a hair salon, restaurant and enterprise units and create a hub for students and the community to encourage business start-ups and enterprise.

Cash for the venture has come courtesy of a £3million grant from the Skills Funding Agency, with the rest found from college funds.

The aim of the project is to provide both new build and refurbished state-of-the-art sustainable teaching environments.

Architects have already drawn up outline plans and the work will be phased to minimise disruption to students. It is expected to be completed by September 2014.

Principal Stuart Cutforth said: “This is definitely an exciting time for Northumberland College.

“We are ready to put the disappointments and setbacks from the past few years behind us and move forward with creating a Northumberland College for the future.

“This is excellent news for the county and the North East region, particularly when public-sector expenditure is under pressure.

“The college has a critical role in contributing to economic growth and in preparing young people for meaningful careers so this news could not have come at a better time for the region.”