Ministers have approved a plan by Brighton University to open a specialist engineering college in Newhaven for 600 students aged 14 to 19 years old.
The plan for a university technical college (UTC) was given formal approval today (Thursday 28 March).
It will focus on marine and environmental engineering in an area where Eon is proposing to build the onshore base for its Rampion offshore wind farm.
And the backers include Veolia Environmental Services which has a waste incinerator at North Quay in Newhaven.
The new college is expected to open in September 2015 and to cater for students who are not motivated by conventional schools.
It is intended to provide students with the chance to study technical subjects in professional surroundings and to link learning with real-life experience and employment.
The backers have worked with local and national employers to ensure that students will have clear routes into jobs or further education and are ready for the world of work.
They aim to attract students from a wide area including Brighton and Hove, Worthing, Bexhill and Haywards Heath.
Professor Julian Crampton, vice-chancellor of Brighton University, said: “I am delighted that this ambitious plan has been given the go-ahead.
“It gives young people a fantastic opportunity to gain both academic and practical engineering experience and will prepare them for their working lives.
“We are committed to the development of the first UTC in the sub-region and look forward to sharing our expertise.”
Sir Rod Aldridge, chairman of the Aldridge Foundation, said: “We’re all in this for the same reason – to give more young people a chance to reach their full potential.
“Education doesn’t have to be a ‘one size fits all’ and I am absolutely convinced that this UTC will appeal strongly to students looking for a different way to learn.
“Close links with employers will ensure that students get an exciting entrepreneurial education and a real headstart in their future careers.”
Allan Key, the general manager at Veolia’s Newhaven incinerator, said: “As the leading recycling and waste management company both nationally and regionally, we are excited by the prospect of the UTC and proud to be the lead-employer sponsor of this innovative educational facility.
“We are looking forward to helping develop skilled and qualified employees of the future.”
Councillor James Page, the leader of Lewes District Council, said: “This is excellent news not just for Newhaven but for Lewes district and beyond.
“The creation of a university technical college, focusing on marine and environmental technology, links well with our aspirations to develop Newhaven as a centre for green industries.
“Undoubtedly key developments in the town such as the Eon wind farm will require a skilled workforce as will the proposed indoor water park which aims to harness the energy it requires from the new Veolia energy recovery facility.
“The UTC gives such employers the opportunity to develop their employees of the future before they even leave college.”
Robert Corbett, head teacher at Tideway School in Newhaven, said: “Both myself and the board of governors at Tideway fully support the creation of a UTC in Newhaven.
“We believe that it will enhance the educational and employment opportunities for young people in the town and wider community.”