College opens high-tech facility

Northallerton College chairman of governors John Dennis performs the honours at the opening of a new �300,000 technology centre. (s)
Northallerton College chairman of governors John Dennis performs the honours at the opening of a new �300,000 technology centre. (s)

STUDENTS are set to make technological advances in their studies as their college opens the doors of a new £300,000 state-of-the-art facility.

Chairman of governors John Dennis performed the honours at the official opening of Northallerton College’s new design and technology centre.

A 20 week scheme has transformed the college’s existing facilities into a cutting-edge learning resource for students aged 14 to 19.

The centre will provide industry standard equipment giving young people a taste of the real working environment and boosting their chances of finding a job.

Equipment includes computer aided design, laser cutting and milling machinery, a vacuum packer and thermo-forming centre with injection moulding, a folding machine and new lathes, all contained in a specially soundproofed, ventilated building.

Ninety per cent of the students at Northallerton College already study GCSE and A Level courses in ICT, textiles, graphics, resistant materials and food technology.

Mr Dennis said: “This is an area I have always been fascinated in because I have a very practical background. It’s a credit to the college what happens in here and with this new enhanced facility learning can only go from strength to strength.”

Head of technology Steve Marshall added: “Environment is an important factor in learning and now students have the very best in which to develop and maximise their life-chances.

“They will leave here with up-to-date skills which will help them secure jobs and apprenticeships.”

Sixth former David Holmes has already noticed a big difference. The 17-year-old, of Northallerton, is using the centre for his A2 graphics course and is currently working on a design for a luxury holiday home in the South of France.

“It is really impressive in the new centre and the equipment rivals that of universities,” said David, who wants to be an architect one day.

“It is a much better environment in which to learn and it will give us a great head start. I’m now aiming high and, one day, want to design large scale, bespoke architecture; something along the lines of the Gherkin building in London.”

Property service manager for contractor Interserve, David Taylor, said the design centre had been an interesting project to work on. “Great care was taken to work around the students so lessons were not disrupted and we are really pleased with the result,” he said.