Stakeholders of a £61 million pounds business and technology expansion in County Durham are hoping that the investment will attract young workers and train the next generation.

Phase three of NETPark’s expansion in Sedgefield was officially unveiled yesterday (July 26), which includes eight units for businesses across the region to expand or move in and grow.

The 232,000 sqft expansion on the site off the A177 will add to the park's current portfolio of forty businesses and generate an estimated £625 million for the local economy and over 1,000 jobs.

Read more: NETPark Sedgefield phase three project to bring over 1k jobs

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For stakeholders including Durham County Council and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership,  who invested in the project, expansion is important but investing and educating the next generation is another goal.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, emphasised this goal to retain a local workforce and fill these 1,000 vacancies at the launch.

She said: “It’s really important that we keep the workforce in this area. One of our ambitions as a council is that any children who started school last September will not have to leave County Durham when they graduate from university.

“They don’t have to leave the North East because there will be opportunities here.”

Chief Executive of Durham County Council, John Hewitt, shared this view as he praised the “fantastic” expansion of NETPark.

He said: “It’s fantastic building on what we have done in NETPark so far. The expansion is great in terms of opportunity for future generations.

“It will bring high-quality manufacturing jobs to Sedgefield and build on what we have done so far which is hugely important for both County Durham and the whole region.”

Amy Harhoff, Corporate Director for Regeneration and Growth at Durham County Council, laid out her ambitions for the region as phase three kicks off.

The Northern Echo: Investors pictured outside the site at NETPark.Investors pictured outside the site at NETPark. (Image: SARAH CALDECOTT)

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She said: “The North East has already been identified in the UK’s semiconductor strategy as a leading region with all of the businesses that are already here at NETPark.

“We have a real, good concept here that we can do it in the North East and we can do it at NETPark.”

NETPark is already home to science, technology, and manufacturing businesses as well as a centre used by Durham University, with organisers hoping the newest units will attract businesses from across the country.

Construction at the site has just begun, with the expansion due to be finished towards the beginning of 2025.