The Blaenau Gwent Learning Zone opened its doors to students for the very first time today. Thousands of youngsters on A-Level programmes and vocational courses attended the £33.5 million state-of-the-art college, which is situated on a former steelworks site in Ebbw Vale.

The campus boasts specialist facilities for construction, science, hair and beauty, performing arts, art & media, IT and Independent Living Skills (ILS). Students will also benefit from enhanced IT spaces with video conferencing, a fully equipped Learning Resource Centre and a roof garden.

Emily Morgan, 20, is studying hairdressing. She said: "I think the campus is brilliant. I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser. I had been on an apprenticeship but didn’t get to finish it, so I’m really excited to be here."

Bethan Taylor, 16, is studying public services at the new campus. She said: "It’s really massive. It’s far nicer than our old comp. It’s really good, but we are definitely going to get lost. We are in the aqua blue zone but we still haven’t worked out how to get there yet."

John Sexton, campus director, said: "Feedback has been extremely positive which is absolutely fantastic. The building is fabulous; the staff are experts of a very high calibre and I’m confident we will make a massive success of the Learning Zone for the benefit of the people in Blaenau Gwent and the surrounding areas."