MP and shadow digital minister, Chi Onwurah

Newcastle College (@NCLCollege) has been praised for its investment efforts in its recently built facilities by @ChiOnwurah, shadow digital minister, when the College welcomed her for a tour of its upgraded STEM facilities last week.

Ms Onwurah, Shadow Minister for Digital, Science and Technology, who has an extensive background in engineering, telecoms, and software development, spent time in the College’s engineering department before visiting the newly opened £180,000 Digital Hub.

She commented: “It’s encouraging to see that the facilities at Newcastle College have not only improved with evident investment but have been set up in a way that will support the region’s business objectives and support people into meaningful employment. This is a fantastic opportunity for the College to contribute to closing skills gaps across the region. I welcome their commitment to strive for gender balance across its STEM provision, though there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Chi continued: “Our region is in a prime position to level up in digital and engineering and Newcastle College has ensured that it’s part of that agenda by helping students to develop skills that will be needed now, and in the future. What is great to see is that the College still values the traditional learning methods and techniques in engineering, alongside the use of more advanced technology to help develop well rounded and skilled people who are digitally enabled. I’m looking forward to seeing graduates from Newcastle College benefit from this investment and make a real impact in our region. I can see from the facilities and wider strategy that the College is committed to making important links with key industry partnerships with local employers”

The tour of the facilities follows the launch of Newcastle College’s Strategy to 2030 earlier this year, which includes an aim to become the best vocational education provider of STEM in the UK and investment of over £650,000 into STEM facilities, including the Digital Hub.

The Digital Hub forms part of the College’s Synergy Hub, which brings together an Apprenticeships Hub, The Enterprise Hub and Solutions for Business and curriculum design departments. It will support Newcastle College’s target to produce 100 digital graduates annually by 2025 to support the local digital cluster.

This year, the College has welcomed 400 students on digital courses across all provision and has recently launched Go Reboot Plus in partnership with Sunderland Software City, a free-to-access digital training programme for unemployed adults living in North Tyneside.

Scott Bullock, Principal at Newcastle College said:

“STEM is a huge part of our wider 10-year Strategy as we know it not only offers lots of opportunities for our students but will support our region to continue to grow in sectors such as digital and engineering.

“To gain support from Ms Onwurah, as a champion of business and education within the North East, means a great deal. We’ve put a huge amount of work and investment into the 10-year Strategy and truly believe it has the potential to leave a lasting impact on the North East business landscape by producing confident, high-quality graduates and positive employer links. Our focus now will be to build on that progress, with particular focus on addressing the gender balance within STEM that has been rightly highlighted by the Minister. This is a recognised issue across the sector and as educators it is our role to encourage and provide opportunities for everybody. We are more than ready to meet that challenge.”

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