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Thursday, 24 April 2014

New dairy unit will create jobs at Newton Rigg

A multi-million pound investment in Newton Rigg will create jobs and a major new dairy unit at the college.

Liz Philip photo
Liz Philip

York-based Askham Bryan, which owns the Penrith campus, said it would spend £3m on the 250-cow dairy unit, a new building for the National Centre for the Uplands at Mungrisdale and upgrading its buildings and facilities on campus. It will also extend the college’s biomass heating system.

A further £6m investment will be made in York with both developments creating a total 75 jobs, according to Askham Bryan.

Chief executive Liz Philip said: “This is hugely significant, not only for the college, but for the education of tomorrow’s young people, for the economy across the North of England, and for the positive impact it will have on agriculture generally.

“I would anticipate that around 75 new jobs will be created. We currently employ 520 people in full-time and part-time roles, but as you would expect, to deliver more courses to more students, we will need to recruit and that will be a further boost to the local economy.”

The college secured £3m in funding from the Skills Funding Agency and will put in £6m of its own funds.

Planning permission was granted for the £3m dairy unit in June and farm manager Jonathan Fisher has already started to build a herd. It is the first time since the foot and mouth crisis in 2001 that a dairy herd will be kept at the college to help train students.

Mrs Philip added: “Our students deserve the best learning environment possible, and certainly whilst our latest Ofsted designated us as a good college with outstanding features, it stated that the standard of some of our buildings was poor.

“We needed to address that, and now we are able to put that into action.”

Work on the dairy unit is expected to start this month and upgrading the campus buildings will begin next summer. Wes Johnson, principal of Newton Rigg, said: “We have some wonderful original sandstone buildings, the library and of course the original Newton Rigg farmhouse.

“We want to open up the campus with green areas to enhance the whole feel of the college and make the most of these buildings.

“At present they are hidden amongst a real mish-mash of buildings, several of which are in disrepair and need to be replaced.”

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