Skills Academy chooses Darlington

The North East's academy for training chemical industry process workers is set to expand.

The head office of the National Skills Academy Process Industries has chosen Darlington's Morton Palms Business Park as the location for its new central base.

The move will see the management and administration team relocate and comes following the skills academy outgrowing its incubator space at the University of Teesside.

Since its launch in January 2008, the skills academy head office has been based in accommodation donated by the University's Innovation Centre, as it got off the ground.

Now entering its second year, the skills academy has established five new regional bases around the country that together represent over 20% of the UK's process industries workforce.

Chief Executive Philip Jones said: "It was always envisaged that as we expanded we would require larger premises and since our launch we have increased our headcount as the extent of our work has grown.

"This head office move to Darlington gives us the ideal base from which to work with employers all over the North East, from Northumberland down to Teesside, and will provide direct rail links to and from London as well as Scotland, where we are establishing a new regional base next year."

Gillian Collinson, One North East Skills and Higher Education Strategy Manager said: "The University of Teesside has helped this organisation flourish and provided an important link between academia and the private sector companies working in the region.

"This sort of facility is a perfect example of the major role universities, colleges and private providers play in creating a sustainable regional economy. Teesside's chemical industry will remain a key focus for the skills academy.

"However we are delighted to see that it is demonstrating its commitment to the region by staying in the North East with this exciting move to Morton Palms in Darlington."

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