The £8.4 million Nexus Learning Centre at South Shields has welcomed its first intake of drivers which has now been opened after the completion of construction work over the summer. The facility has been built on the site of the old South Shields Metro station and allows Nexus to bring a wide range of rail infrastructure and operations training under one roof.
Martin Kearney, Chief Operating Officer at Nexus, said: “We’re delighted to open the doors of our new, purpose-built Learning Centre in South Shields. This facility is part of our vision of an exciting future for Nexus. Metro drivers are among the first ones to use these modern facilities as we push ahead with the latest training schools, which previously been held up by the first lockdown. The Learning Centre will transform the quality of the training we provide to our workforce and industry partners, ensuring we keep Metro part of everyday life for the people who use the service every day. It’s a place where our employees will go to develop themselves professionally, and to work on strategies to improve what we do and how we do it. A lot of our training was previously being delivered in mobile classrooms, so this new building heralds a new era and a step change in quality.”
The Learning Centre includes a 70 metre stretch of dual track for rail infrastructure training, including track points, signalling and overhead line. Eventually the facility will also be home to a new computerised Metro driving simulator in preparation for the delivery of new trains.
30 trainee drivers are now using the facility (this is part of Metro’s largest ever intake of new drivers) with delays in their training coming as a result of the pandemic. They will be able to take advantage of other features at the facility including classrooms, offices, a staff canteen and breakout area, store rooms and a conference room for 50 people.
The new Learning Centre has been funded through a £7 million grant from the Government’s Local Growth Fund and a £1.4 million contribution by Nexus.