TEENAGERS are starting to hone their skills at a new vocational centre.

As part of a £4.5m investment at Haydon Bridge High School, the new centre designed to deliver courses in construction, engineering, hairdressing, beauty therapy and catering was declared open this week.

The centre has been established in partnership with Northumberland County Council’s learning and skills service.

In addition to the vocational centre, improvements at the school will include a new sixth form centre, new entrance and reception, new multi-use games areas and improvements to the main hall, library, sports hall changing, performing arts and learning hub areas.

Wayne Daley, the council’s cabinet member for education and skills, said: “This is a great new centre in Haydon Bridge, which will cater for hundreds of students over the coming years in skills which we hope will help them get into employment in their local areas.

“I’m extremely impressed by the quality of the equipment and the environment for learning, and also the enthusiasm of the students I met and who are now studying there. I know that this will be a superb asset to the school and to neighbouring communities in West Northumberland, and I would urge prospective students and families to go along and have a look around.”

The vocational centre will enable the school to provide further options to the traditional A-levels. Headteacher Darren Glover said: “Our sixth form curriculum is tailored to the individual student, with a focus on enabling them to make the most of their academic and personal talents.

“We aim to offer a curriculum which ensures that every student can pursue a programme that matches their interests, career plans and abilities, and this new vocational centre will allow us to enhance this programme of activities and greatly assist students in their learning.”