Education partnership announced for new Stocksbridge Skills and Learning Hub - Northern College
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Education partnership announced for new Stocksbridge Skills and Learning Hub

February 26, 2024

Plans for a new skills and learning centre based on the high street in Stocksbridge – offering multi-purpose educational space for a range of courses took a major step forward this week.

Members of the Stocksbridge Town Deal Board have agreed with the team at Northern College to bring a host of adult education and learning opportunities to the town centre. 

The brand new facility will be housed in the Stocksbridge 519 building – a commercial and community hub anchoring the town centre regeneration which is being funded through the Stocksbridge Town Deal. 

The agreement between the Stocksbridge Town Deal Board and Northern College outlines the partnership’s joint commitment to delivering better access to a range of adult skills in the town. 

The new skills and learning centre will be based on the top floor of the Stocksbridge 519 building planned for Manchester Road. It will sit alongside a range of other facilities including new managed workspace for companies to expand and grow, a modern ground floor library and flexible community space.

The skills hub will allow Northern College to offer courses and opportunities for local people who are looking to re-enter education, gain qualifications for work or make a career change. 

Courses will be designed to have as wide an appeal as possible, also linking with the town’s main employers as well as new companies joining the tenant line up at Stocksbridge 519. This is expected to be available from late 2025. 

Co-chair of the Stocksbridge Town Deal Board, Miriam Cates MP, said: “We are excited to be working with the excellent team from Northern College on this project. Having access to vocational training and the opportunity to learn new skills is hugely important and we’re really pleased to be able to support this fantastic project. 

“The agreement with Northern College sets our plans in motion to have a new educational facility at the heart of the community in Stocksbridge in our newly regenerated town centre.”

Principal and Chief Executive of Northern College, at Wentworth in Barnsley, Emma Beal, said: “The plans for Stocksbridge town centre look great and we are looking forward to being part of the new Stocksbridge 519 building. We’re pleased to be working with the Town Deal Board with a shared vision to make a real difference and bring additional skills and learning opportunities.

“We’ve already started carefully looking at the type of courses that the community would like to see, and we’ll be doing more of that local engagement as the plans and construction work progress on the building.” 

The planning application for the Stocksbridge 519 building was submitted in December and it’s hoped that work will start later in the year. The wider town centre plans also include a new Town Square as well as shop front improvements and a major investment in paving and public realm. 

Other projects being delivered in the first phase of the Town Deal investment include the Oxley Park Improvement Project, The Stocksbridge Hopper Bus, and grants to make improvements to the facilities at Stocksbridge Rugby Club and Stocksbridge Park Steels. 

To keep up to date with news about the Stocksbridge Town Deal visit

Photograph shows: Miriam Cates MP and Emma Beal from Northern College at the site of the new Stocksbridge 519 Community Hub Building. 

About Northern College: Northern College is the only adult residential college in the North of England. Its mission is to inspire positive change through adult education. Focussed on addressing socio-economic disadvantage, the college educates hundreds of adults from South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and beyond every year.  The college specialises in education and training for adults who wish to return to education or gain formal qualifications for the first time. Based at the Grade 1 listed Wentworth Castle, near Barnsley, set within 60 acres of National Trust grounds, the college provides short community learning courses and longer accredited academic and vocational courses that enable students to progress on to further study, higher education or work. Visit

About Town Deals: The Town Deals programme aims to regenerate towns and deliver long-term economic and productivity growth. This is through investments in urban regeneration, digital and physical connectivity, skills, heritage, and enterprise infrastructure. As of July 2021, DLUHC have offered Town Deals to all 101 places that submitted proposals, committing over £2.35bn of investment across c.700 projects nationwide.

About the Stocksbridge Town Deal:  A Town Investment Plan for Stocksbridge was submitted to the Government in January 2021. The chosen projects were selected by the board guided by the key priorities and potential outputs set by the funding guidelines along with the communities’ priorities and concerns highlighted through local consultation. 

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