The suite has seen an investment of £1m in the most up-to-date technology in building information modelling and manufacturing robotics.

Employers who work closely with the College have been amongst the first to be invited to see the equipment and try it for themselves. The College has also hosted the MP of North West Durham, Richard Holden and Rt. Hon. Kevan Jones, the MP for North Durham, who also tried out the equipment.

The Business Information Modelling/Virtual Reality Design Suite was designed to support digital construction industry needs covering building information modelling (BIM) with 3D model creation to simulate real-life scenarios for students and staff. The facilities also allow the integration of virtual reality (VR) from concept designs, enabling students to be immersed in a one-to-one scale walk through model.

The VR Active Wall studio is a full-scale immersive experience for groups to work together with the 3D model/design. This area is within a modern, open plan industry space which allows students to work on their group projects in a relaxed atmosphere.

The IoT suite is also equipped with three robotic cells which feature Mitsubishi 6-axis bench size robotic arms. Each cell can be controlled by a hand-held teach pendant or by a laptop with Mitsubishi RT3 robotic simulation software. Students are taught how to use both methods of control and to develop robotic programs to carry out similar tasks required by maintenance technicians within industry.

Andy Broadbent, principal and chief executive at New College Durham said: “The BIM/VR suite is a fantastic asset for the NEIoT. It will give our students the opportunity to create visualisations that support and evolve with fast-moving, complex projects.

"Technology in the construction industry is moving at a rapid pace. This suite will allow students at all levels to experience the latest technology which will enhance their employability skills.”

Andrew Johnson is the learning & development lead at the BIM Academy. He came along to the College to try out the new suite.

He said: “The new facilities have the latest technology for digital skills. I was able to try out the Virtalis active wall, laser scanners and survey equipment for viewing and capturing data and was highly impressed.

"We are looking forward to collaborating with the College to create some inspiring business information modelling training.”

More details on the North East Institute of Technology and the courses it offers are available at www.newdur.ac.uk.