In December 2017 South West Durham Training (SWDT) will celebrate its 50th anniversary. WWII RAF fighter ace Sir Douglas Bader performed the official ceremony when the centre first threw open its doors to apprentice engineers in 1967.
An agreement with the National Railway Museum in York saw the centre train apprentices for the museum's sister site in Shildon. SWDT trainees ended up working on historic engines such as Tornado, Locomotion no. 1 and the Blue Peter, as well as the replica of the Sans Pareil.
The centre was extended in 1969, January 1975 and again in 2012 in response to growing demand from local companies.
In July 2014 Ofsted graded SWDT as ‘outstanding’ in all four areas: overall effectiveness, outcomes for learners, quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and effectiveness of leadership and management. It is the first member of the Group Training Association of England ever to have received an outstanding grade across all areas of provision.
If you are a former apprentice or member of staff we would like to hear from you to find out about your memories and experiences. Please contact Matthew.Gatiss@bacoll.ac.uk