Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal officially opened the North Cambridgeshire Training Centre (NCTC) in Chatteris on Wednesday (November 29).

The centre is run by the Eastern Education Group and was set up to support people of all ages gain new skills.

The land where the NCTC is located is owned by Stainless Metalcraft who helped to create the building and secured funding from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The Princess Royal met representatives from all organisations and said: "Learning never stops - it's a lifelong journey".

The Hunts Post: The Princess Royal chats to staff at the North Cambridgeshire Training Centre as Dr Nikos Savvas looks onThe Princess Royal chats to staff at the North Cambridgeshire Training Centre as Dr Nikos Savvas looks on (Image: Sylvaine Poitau)

She also commended the centre's investment in a "neglected" area of education. 

The state-of-the-art centre provides apprenticeships, professional development and commercial courses in engineering and advanced manufacturing.

It also delivers management, digital technologies, business support, and health and social sciences.

During the visit, The Princess Royal was given a tour of the facilities by the group principal of university and professional development at the Eastern Education Group, Laraine Moody.

The Hunts Post: Dr Nikos Savvas (CEO of the Eastern Education Group), The Princess Royal and Laraine Moody (Eastern

HRH met and chatted to current engineering apprentices, met lecturers and programme leaders and local school children taking part in the Skills Escalator programme in conjunction with local businesses.

The visit concluded with HRH unveiling a commemorative plaque in honour of the visit.

She met with Dr Nikos Savvas, CEO of the Eastern Education Group, along with staff and students from this organisation.

Dr Savvas said: “It is such an honour to have HRH Princess Royal with us today and to celebrate the opening of the North Cambridgeshire Training Centre. Today is a truly momentous day for the region. 

The Hunts Post: The Princess Royal chats to Nigel Roberts and students from the North Cambridgeshire Training

“The centre will serve as an incredibly important place in the community, equipping the upcoming generations with the tools and knowledge necessary to thrive in their careers, contributing significantly to the local economy's growth.”

The Princess Royal also met apprentices and staff from Stainless Metalcraft, including Austen Adams, chairman of the North Cambridgeshire Place Development Board and divisional managing director of Avingtrans PLC’s process solutions and rotating equipment division, which is home to Stainless Metalcraft.

Austen said: “We were thrilled to welcome HRH Princess Anne to Chatteris once again and delighted that she agreed to formally open the new centre.

“NCTC was created to address a gap in vocational training provision in Fenland, East Cambridgeshire and wider Cambridgeshire and aims to build on our heritage creating pathways into rewarding careers in engineering by opening up opportunities for local people to up-skill for careers across a variety of growth industries.

The Hunts Post: The Princess Royal chats to local primary school students

“It is an essential tool for the region’s economic development and the delivery of the project - from the initial idea to raising finance, getting spades in the ground and now today’s official opening - has required a huge amount of teamwork, enthusiasm and good will from a host of partners.

“This visit is the perfect opportunity to thank everyone involved for their part and we’re excited to showcase the new facility and welcome Her Royal Highness to join the celebrations.”

Laraine Moody, group principal of university and professional development at the Eastern Education Group, said: “It was a great honour to meet The Princess Royal at the NCTC.

“She showed great awareness of the purpose of the centre and a real interest in how we support the local community.

“We were able to showcase the amazing facilities and introduce her to students and businesses who have already benefitted from the support created by the partnership with Stainless Metalcraft.

“As one of the largest training providers in the region, we have a strong track record developing the skills and talents of our students - from apprentices, entry level courses to higher education and targeted professional development.

“We are incredibly passionate about preparing people of all ages for employment and further study, working with industry partners to develop the skills required for the workplace and economic development and supporting the local community.

“So the profile of this visit was a fantastic opportunity for us spread the word far and wide in regards to the amazing work that we do.”

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Business Board provided £3.16m to fund the training school through the Local Growth Fund.

Alongside Stainless Metalcraft, local organisations involved include The Active Learning Trust, Cambs Skills and new university ARU Peterborough.

Further information about courses available at NCTC can be found at https://www.wsc.ac.uk/north-cambridgeshire-training-centre