EDUCATION bosses behind a £10m college have appointed a former Air Traffic Controller to help nurture the region’s engineers of tomorrow.

Officials at the South Durham University Technical College (UTC), in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, have welcomed Jenny Trapp as deputy principal.

The college, led by the University of Sunderland, will teach youngsters between 14 and 19-years-old in a business environment, providing extended work placements and core GCSE subjects, such as English, maths and science.

Ms Trapp, who was responsible for controlling military and civilian aircraft while in the RAF, will work alongside UTC principal, Tom Dower, when the site opens in September.

Ms Trapp, who will leave her role as assistant headteacher at Queen Elizabeth High School, in Hexham, Northumberland, said she is excited at the prospect of helping youngsters into rewarding careers.

The former John Lewis training manager, who has run her own business and held roles in adult skills and education, said: “The UTC was established to inspire young people to become future engineers, technologists and scientists.

“I’m looking forward to guiding students on their journey and supporting staff and the wider community in delivering the UTC’s vision.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the development of an innovative education establishment.”

Reacting to Ms Trapp’s appointment, Tom Dower, a former Teesside-based ICI chartered engineer who was appointed UTC principal last year, said she is perfectly placed to help drive forward the college.

He added: “With her background in the education, commercial and military sectors, Jenny brings a broad skill-set, which will ensure the UTC delivers outstanding teaching and experiences for students.

“Her track record as an innovative and flexible leader, together with her passion for education and lifelong learning, will help to establish the UTC as a life-changing educational route for students interested in high-tech careers.”

The UTC is supported by Aycliffe-based train builder, Hitachi Rail Europe, and car chassis maker, Gestamp Tallent, who both need the next generation to maintain their growth.

The college aims to take on 240 pupils in its first year, made up of 120 Year Ten and 120 Year 12 pupils.

That number is expected to swell to 540 in the 2017/2018 school year, including 300 Year Ten and Year 12 pupils and 240 Year 11 and Year 13 students, and 600 in 2018/2019, with 150 youngsters across every group.

Officials have previously held a number of open nights to show off their plans to students, with a significant number of youngsters already signed up for courses.