Redcar & Cleveland College opened its doors for the first time today with a new campus boasiting state-of-the-art facilities. The £26m development on Redcar's Corporation Road includes hair and beauty salons, a specialist gas training centre and its own fitness suite.
Gary Groom, Principal of Redcar & Cleveland College, said: "This is a very exciting time for the college, its staff, current and prospective students. We’re delighted that MP for Redcar, Vera Baird, can be here with us to receive the first learners into the new campus. We are currently planning a further official opening ceremony, with a member of the Royal Family, which will take place early in 2009.
"The new Redcar & Cleveland College represents what the college is striving to achieve through its mission by 'Raising Aspirations and Exceeding Expectations', with the new building truly reflecting the quality of the college teaching & learning which in itself has been making new national records for excellence.
"We have already exceeded our initial targets for recruitment this year with some 1,500 learners aged 16-19 expected through the doors today for their first week of term, and we are still enrolling with many more students arriving on a daily basis.
“"he new Redcar & Cleveland College is going to be a great place to learn and work. For many learners recruited this year Redcar & Cleveland College has been their first choice destination for further learning, which is brilliant news."
The students that were welcomed by the revamped college today will be able to study a range of subject areas including Care and Management, Engineering and The Built Environment. The development replaces the college's previous campuses on Corporation Road and Redcar Lane, and has the capability to deliver more than 200 full-time and part-time courses.
Dr Graham Hillier, Chair of College Govenors, said: "The new building is truly iconic and has already had a huge impact on Redcar and the surrounding areas.
"Working closely with our partners and colleagues in the schools and at the University of Teesside, the college will be delivering programmes which make learning exciting and allow us to meet the new challenges for education from aged 14 years through to adult.
"By building this new further education college in Redcar & Cleveland we have created a world class learning environment which, together with our excellent staff, is set up and equipped to deliver outstanding teaching and learning well into the long term future."
Vera Baird, Member of Parliament for Redcar, commented: "The opening of the new Redcar & Cleveland College campus signals Redcar’s intent to be at the forefront of Further Education in the north east. It has been exciting watching the new campus grow over the last 18 months into a new landmark for the town.
"The new campus gives us a world class Further Education institution right on our doorstep at a time when vocational learning is growing in importance on both a local and national level. The facilities here mean that the college is perfectly placed to deliver high class vocational training for many years to come."
Work on the new site began in January last year after many months of planning. College staff and contractors have worked in their hundreds on the landmark development, including several students on work-based learning apprenticeships.
Enrolments already exceeding all the college’s targets for both Further and Higher Education courses, with more than 5,500 students expected through the doors of the college over the next 12 months.