NEWLY appointed Employment and Learning Minister Danny Kennedy MLA visited the borough last week to unveil the latest phase of improvements at the Newtownabbey campus of the Northern Regional College (NRC).
Mr Kennedy unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening of the new multi-million pound facilities at the Shore Road site last Wednesday (December 8).
The state-of-the-art project houses a new Transport Skills Centre, refurbished construction and engineering facilities and a new canteen with social area for students.
Speaking at the launch, the Minister said: "This new facility will provide excellent educational accommodation for the people of Newtownabbey and the surrounding area. The building has created a learning environment where students can reach their full potential and progress into their chosen careers."
Director of NRC Trevor Neilands welcomed the Minister, students and special guests to the official opening.
"This finished extension offers NRC students an outstanding learning environment and we are looking forward to seeing them reach their potential as they utilise the new facilities available," he said.
East Antrim MLA Ken Robinson, a former governor of the college, commented: "Further Education represents a vital opportunity for our young people to develop their knowledge, skills and expertise in those areas which will hopefully lead to the upturn of economic recovery.
"The vision and dedication of the staff to this task is now matched by this modern facility which will enable the students to continue to develop the excellent levels of attainment for which Newtownabbey College and the now rebranded NRC has a well deserved reputation."
The Ulster Unionist councillor added: "This building is a vital part of the educational fabric of Newtownabbey and the wider area which is now served by this campus and it represents a strong vote of confidence in the potential of our young people."
A range of learning opportunities will be delivered in the new building, including courses belonging to the Faculty of Built Environment & Art Design and the Faculty of Engineering.