NORTHUMBERLAND College has announced a major investment programme that will see improved facilities at Kirkley Hall.

A newly constructed equine centre, a specialist animal management centre and a veterinary nursing centre will all be built at the campus near Ponteland, along with university-style accommodation for students.

Specialist resources for students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) will also be created.

The multi-million pound programme will also see work carried out at campuses in Ashington and Berwick. It is anticipated that work will begin by next month.

Nigel Harrett, principal of Northumberland College, said: “At the moment, where people study is very scattered, very spread out. Some people go out of the county.

“We want people to see Northumberland College as their number one choice. We have a vision for Northumberland College – a vision of excellence and with investment.”

Mr Harrett also confirmed that the college would be working with the new North of Tyne Combined Authority to deliver training and skills based on the needs of employers.

Northumberland County Council agreed to devolve a large portion of adult education funding to the new authority last week.

The investment was made possible by the college’s merger with Sunderland College and Hartlepool Sixth Form College, which formed the Education Partnership North East (EPNE).

EPNE chief executive Ellen Thinnesen,said: “The investments we are looking to make across our Northumberland campuses will provide huge benefits for our students, both current and future, as well as our staff and the local communities we serve.”