£8 million extension at NES campus is officially opened

The STEM Centre opening event in full swing.
The STEM Centre opening event in full swing.

The new STEM Centre at North East Scotland College’s Fraserburgh Campus has been officially opened.

The facility – which focuses on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects – was opened by chairman of The Wood Foundation, Sir Ian Wood GBE, on Wednesday, February 1.

The 2300 sq. m. extension not only increases accommodation for engineering, automotive and construction but offers more flexible teaching spaces and has allowed the college to introduce additional study options including science, which is a first for the Fraserburgh campus.

The official launch event was attended by representatives from a number of community organisations, including councillors and the community council, as well as members of the college board.

Liz McIntyre, recently-appointed principal, welcomed everyone and outlined the college’s future vision, the main aim being equipping students with the skills they need for the workplace.

Sir Ian Wood discussed the region’s economy, the role of the college within that and the north-east economy’s ‘renaissance’.

Sir Ian, the chairman of Opportunity North East, said: “North East Scotland College and its Fraserburgh Campus will play a vital role in maintaining a strong and diversified regional economy in the decades ahead by ensuring our young people are aware of the career opportunities in the region and by working with industry to provide education and training linked to those.

“STEM now accounts for one in four new jobs created in Scotland and 80 per cent of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills.

“The STEM centre will be very important for the development of our future workforce and enhancing the growth of our key industry sectors.”

Sir Ian also warned against the north-east becoming an “historical monument” to the oil and gas industry and emphasised the role the college had to play in equipping the workforce of the future.

He highlighted the wide range of sectors here in the north-east, including food and drink, fishing, life sciences and tourism.

However, he added: “Industry has still got a long, long way to go here in the north east. I hope the region will become a global technology centre for oil and gas.”

The Aberdeen-based businessman and philanthropist concluded by saying the industry was still a very attractive one for young people considering their future careers.

Ken Milroy, chairman of the College’s Regional Board, was delighted to unveil the new facility.

He said: “It has been a three-year project and the scale of what we’ve done has been fantastic. It’s great to see it now in use and to see that our £8 million investment in the Fraserburgh campus has been so well received.

“It’s so important for the local economy today and going forward.”

Building work on the two-storey, steel framed extension began in July 2015 and was completed in time for the start of the 2016/17 session.

Main contractor Robertson Northern was responsible for delivering the build on time for the start of the new session and within budget.

Frank Reid, regional managing director, said: “This exciting new space is perfect to help inspire future generations into careers in construction, engineering, science and automotive engineering.

“We’re delighted to have played a part in bringing this to reality.

“As well as providing a useful and motivational area for students, we built the facility to achieve high environmental performance standards, which means it is energy efficient, uses environmentally sound materials and is designed to promote health and wellbeing.”

The new STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Centre includes a wide range of teaching facilities, with state-of-the-art technology.