EXCITEMENT is building as students get ready for the trip of a lifetime to India.

Seventeen young people from Consett Academy, aged 14 to 18, will leave in December for a nine day visit to a partner school in the steel town of Jamshedpur.

They will work together on a project that looks at the different experiences of two of the world’s ‘steel’ towns.

The trip is being funded by a schools partnership grant from the British Council but UKSE, a subsidiary of Tata Steel, has stepped in with £1,600 from its Community Support Fund to help cover costs such as project t-shirts and airport transport.

The Steel Towns project will compare the two towns and evaluate the impact of regeneration.

Jamshedpur still relies on steel employment and Consett has fought hard to regenerate its industrial and business base following the closure of its steelworks in the 1980s.

Sarah Thorpe, area manager for UKSE, said: “We are happy to support this amazing project and pleased that our funding will ensure that no-one is unable to take part for financial reasons.

“I understand the schools are hoping to visit one of the sites operated by our parent company Tata Steel, which is a great connection to the project for us.”

Helen Potter, the school’s assistant director, and teachers Susan Murray and David Hall will be accompanying the students on the trip.

Ms Potter said: “Everyone is so excited.

“The help from UKSE has really made a big difference to us as it is often the extra costs of a trip like this that can be difficult for families to find.

“It will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

“Students will not only learn about local history and geography but will also experience a totally different culture.

“Many of the students may never have had the opportunity to travel and it will help to develop a whole raft of skills from self confidence and resilience to communication, teamwork and problem solving that will stand them in good stead in any future employment and for life.”