CREWE will spearhead the north west’s engineering skills base after the Government announced the town would be home to a new University Technical College.

UTC Crewe will cater for 14 to 19-year-olds who want to pursue careers in engineering and highly skill manufacturing, working with major local employers to develop gold-standard vocational qualifications.

Due to open in September 2016, the centre of excellence will be the first of its kind in Crewe and help provide a young workforce for the region’s economy.

The announcement comes as five cities in the North of England met Chancellor George Osborne to unveil a £15bn plan to improve road and rail connections in the region.

The joint One North report includes plans for a new 125mph inter-city rail link, faster links and better access to ports and airports – aimed at creating a ‘northern global powerhouse’.

Leader of Cheshire East Council, Michael Jones hailed the announcement as ‘great news for Crewe, Cheshire East and the north of England as a whole’.

He added: “The Chancellor George Osborne, Prime Minister David Cameron and I share the same vision: to drive out unemployment, boost connectivity, create jobs and give our young people the employment opportunities they deserve.

“It is also about rebalancing our economy, boosting the north’s transport engineering skills and delivering better connectivity across the region to unleash its full economic potential and create jobs.

“Britain’s once world-beating manufacturing sector has suffered over the decades leading to lost opportunities to train our youngsters up to become the leading engineers of the future.

“Cheshire East Council has held this vision for some time and we are delighted that the Government has now thrown its full weight behind this idea.

“We also fully support securing more apprentices and our own award-winning apprentice scheme, The A-Team, which offers fantastic training for our youngsters in Cheshire East.”

Crewe and Nantwich MP Edward Timpson, added: “I have really pushed for this college in government because I have seen with my own eyes what the young people of Crewe and Nantwich are capable of when given the opportunity of first-class technical training. 

“I want them set up for life with skills that will keep them employed and spur them on to higher education if they want it. 

“This college will be producing the engineers of the future under the guidance of some stellar companies. I am so pleased we pulled it off.”

The UTC scheme is a partnership between Cheshire East Council, Bentley Motors, Manchester Metropolitan University, Siemens, Bosch, OSL Rail, Jacobs Engineering, Chevron Racing, Optical 3D and South Cheshire Chamber of Commerce.

The aim is to fill the gap local businesses have of young people with automotive, engineering, rail and design skills in these growing industries.