Ground has been broken on the site of a new £8.4 million training centre being built by Tyne and Wear Metro.
Due to open next summer, the Nexus Learning Centre in South Shields will train both apprentices and existing staff, offering frontline leadership and management development courses.
The centre itself will have a mock Metro station and a 70-metre section of electrified track.
Nexus has said that the centre will also be used to stable and maintain Metro trains outside of the main depot in Newcastle. The advantage of this is that it will allow Nexus to operate an earlier morning services and later evening services from South Shields.
Built on the site of the town’s original railway station, the centre has been funded through a £7 million grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund Deal and £1.4 million from Nexus.
Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus, said: “I’m delighted that work is now starting on the construction of our £8.4 million Learning Centre in South Shields.
“This facility will transform the quality of the training that we provide to the Nexus workforce and industry partners, ensuring we keep Metro part of everyday life for the 100,000 people who use the service every day. It will also be the place where our diverse workforce will go to develop themselves professionally, and to work on strategies to improve what we do and how we do it.
“The site dovetails with the ongoing regeneration of South Shields town centre, which includes an entirely new Metro and bus interchange. Our new learning centre will complement this redevelopment and help to bring new opportunities to the area.”