A dedicated centre for students taking their first steps into further education opens on Monday at Bishop Auckland College’s Spennymoor campus.

New motor vehicle, painting & decorating and hairdressing & beauty therapy facilities have been added to existing workshops and classrooms to create a specialist centre for foundation level learning across a wide range of curriculum areas.

It is based in the college’s £8.5m Skills and Enterprise Centre, opened in 2010, where existing Level 2, Level 3 and higher level apprenticeships will continue to be taught, supporting the training needs of local employers in a range of industry sectors.

Other training facilities at the Spennymoor campus include carpentry & joinery, plumbing & heating and electrical installation.

Full time students will be entitled to free travel and a host of other benefits worth up to £2,000 a year, including a £500 allowance, free meals, and assistance with childcare.

Additional financial support includes help with course study costs, such as equipment and uniforms, and vouchers for stationery, with other incentives including free gym membership and free hair and beauty treatments.

Bishop Auckland College Principal Anne Isherwood said: “Over the past five years the college has invested over £40m in state-of-the-art learning facilities. The new salon and workshops at our Spennymoor campus are the latest in a long line of investments to demonstrate our commitment to providing top class facilities for all our learners, from foundation to degree level.”

The college is continuing to recruit until the end of September, with places available on a wide range of courses, including: art & design; music & performing arts; catering & hospitality; brickwork; carpentry and joinery; electrical installation; painting & decorating; plumbing & heating; mechanical engineering; motor vehicle; hairdressing; beauty therapy; travel & tourism; sport; health & social care and childcare.

The main campus at Woodhouse Lane, Bishop Auckland, is open from Monday to Thursday from 9am to 8pm and Friday from 9am to 6pm for enrolment until the end of next week. For more information visit www.bacoll.ac.uk or email start@bacoll.ac.uk or call freephone 0800 092 6506 – or just pop in!