Tyne Coast College Merger - Riding The Tide of Progress
Alison Maynard, Deputy Chief Executive of Tyne Coast College writes:
With ambition as wide as the river, Tyne Coast College is focused on riding the tide of progress – two years since our founding.
We are doing so by maximising the positive effect of our many diverse parts, with each providing specific skills that come together in one college to the benefit of the North East as a whole.
Created from the merger of Tyne Metropolitan College, in North Tyneside, and counterpart South Tyneside College in 2017, we are delivering unique curriculums from modern campuses on both sides of the Tyne.
But our work is benefiting from far more than the combined experience of these two long-established, distinctive and highly respected education names alone.
Merger also closely aligned each college’s primary brands - internationally renowned South Shields Marine School, a world-leading maritime training facility, and Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College, a specialist A level centre.
Amid the excitement of change, our commitment to delivering education and training that is employer-led and supported and geared to meeting the demands of industry and student alike, has powered ahead, with expansion and improvement of key facilities swift. For example, this is seen in our new £2.6m state-of-the-art TMC construction training centre, and through a motor vehicle instruction hub, built to meet demand for improved skills in this popular arena.
As a flagship development, TMC is delivering a much needed boost to the region by helping to eradicate a recognised skills gap in an industrial sector seeing consistent growth amid a housing boom and other developments.
Its classrooms, learning hubs and demonstration areas flow with high-tech equipment, giving students the region’s best hands-on bricklaying, plastering, dry-lining, painting and decorating, plumbing, joinery, and electrical engineering learning.
Added to other facilities’ upgrades, these changes are part of a long-term strategy to deliver the exact learning and qualifications that give the North East’s hungry learners the skills they need to access the jobs they want.
Alongside ever better education and training facilities, we have recognised the need for students to enjoy their entire learning experience, outside the classroom as well as inside. To meet this need, we have invested heavily to make our campuses more in tune with the expectations of today’s students, such as by new facilities that allow them to relax in vibrant, welcoming and friendly environments.
This has included £500,000 being spent on food and drink services at Tyne Metropolitan College, Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College and South Tyneside College, transforming the way our learners can relax between lectures.
And we have also created mental health hubs where they can access responsive professional support that is geared to helping them safely continue their studies. Combined, these academic and social improvements have grown in line with the expectations of employers, who likewise demand their future workforce has the best facilities in which to gain the qualification and life skills that make them the well-rounded individuals who are a boon to business.
We have successfully combined the resources and expertise of our brands into one, strengthening our overall package of teaching and learning and safeguarding services in what is a rapidly changing and challenging education landscape, in all supporting 16,000 full and part-time students each year.
Stronger financially, and geared to ever better delivery of skills locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, our priorities also include providing high-level technical and professional skills, and targeting training in sectors where jobs are in demand, such as engineering, manufacturing and IT.
These progressive policies will support, among other things, the economic development of the A19 corridor, including the creation of the new International Advanced Manufacturing Park, near Nissan.
Our model of learning is also helping to create more and better jobs, reskilling and upskilling people already in employment, and leading to the development of a flexible and skilled workforce that is primed to meet the needs of the region’s businesses. And as well as an exceptionally strong A level offer, which is providing enhanced opportunities for qualifications that meet the entry requirements of universities, we are strong in areas such as workforce development and apprenticeships, government priority areas.
Flexible, adaptable and responsive to changing demands, our brands, separated by the Tyne but united in commitment to skills development, know no barriers to success.