SWDT CEO Trevor Alley
Martin Walker

Member Article

Triple boost for County Durham training provider

A County Durham training provider has been given three major boosts to further strengthen confidence in one of the region’s well-known institutions.

South West Durham Training (SWDT) has struck a deal with Hitachi Rail Europe to teach some its future train-builders.

Hitachi is investing £1 million in a prototype train which will be installed at SWDT’s premises on Aycliffe Business Park as part of the deal - the train, shipped from Japan, is expected to arrive in December.

Meanwhile, the Japanese firm is also planning to base around 70 staff at SWDT until its £82 million facility opens next year.

The deal comes after SWDT announced a new partnership with Bishop Auckland College, in an agreement which will see the Aycliffe organisation retain its status as a separate company and registered charity within the college’s structure.

It will combine the strengths of each organisation, including recent apprenticeship success rates at SWDT and the college’s track-record of good Ofsted ratings.

SWDT revealed in August it had been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted after a series of year-long improvements - a stamp of approval under the Further Education and Skills inspection report, which attributed the result to the hard work and commitment from all its staff.

It comes just a year after Ofsted inspectors told SWDT that improvements were needed.

Following the announcement of an engineering University Technical College (UTC) for Newton Aycliffe, SWDT’s triple-whammy sends out a clear message that it’s in a strong position to continue delivering the future training needs of Aycliffe and County Durham.

CEO Trevor Alley said: “We’re absolutely delighted with these three developments, which are significant for SWDT.

“The link with Bishop Auckland College will provide opportunities for joint curriculum and quality developments, and sharing of resources.”

Mr Alley is now hoping SWDT can continue to build strong relationships with businesses in the local community as well as across County Durham.

He added: “The UTC does come as a challenge to us, I’d be lying if I denied that, but it’s one we’re grasping with both hands.

“I should point out that all these positive developments are as a result of more than a year’s work behind the scenes - not just a kneejerk reaction to the UTC - but we actually think we can complement the UTC when it comes along.

“I’d like to think we can work with the UTC to ensure we both offer the best possible training provision for a future workforce.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Martin Walker .

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