November 15, 2019 @ 11:20 by Steven Hugill
Students from a County Durham steel town once pivotal in Britain’s naval efforts are heading to India to learn more about the industry.
Teenagers from Consett Academy will visit Jamshedpur in December for a nine-day trip to explore the steel histories of their town and the Indian city.
While Consett has reinvented itself following its 1980s steelworks’ closure – its works once made steel for nuclear submarines and helped created Blackpool’s iconic tower – Jamshedpur still relies on steel employment.
The Steel Towns project will compare the two towns’ experiences and evaluate the impact of regeneration.
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 £1600 from its Community Support Fund to help cover costs such as project t-shirts and airport transport.
Sarah Thorpe, area manager for UKSE, which supports businesses creating jobs in the UK’s steel areas, said: “We are happy to support this amazing project and pleased our funding will ensure 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.”
Assistant director Helen Potter and teachers Susan Murray and David Hall will accompany students on the trip.
“Everyone is so excited,” said Helen.
“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 as the 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.”