UK: Newcastle College Officially Opens Energy Academy
Newcastle College recently unveiled a unique centre dedicated to developing higher level skills training for the energy sector.
The Energy Academy is a multi-partner, cross collaboration between Newcastle College, local authorities, Sector Skills Councils and strategic stakeholders in the sector. Based on the North Banks of the Tyne, it provides a centre of innovation, training and development for the energy sector.
The Academy’s official opening took place on 10 May in an event which brought together over 100 representatives from industry, education and Government. It was officially opened by Tim Yeo MP, President of the Renewable Energy Association and Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and Walt Patterson, Nuclear Physicist, writer, broadcaster and independent analyst on energy and the environment.
Charles Hendry, MP, Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change also sent a message of support in which he said: “It is a huge encouragement to see that this kind of work is underway. It is innovators like yourselves that we must look if we are to make the most of our opportunities in renewables and in energy in general, both within the UK and as a world leader in the sector.”
The opening showcased how employers can access a much needed training facility that will help them to train, recruit and retain highly skilled workers. Learners also provided a range of demonstrations in welding, electronics, turbine and solar panel testing and diagnostics.
Bev Robinson, Principal at Newcastle College said: “This is a major development for the college. The academy has been developed in direct response to the national skills gap and the need for higher level skills and training. It will provide individuals with skills that can be transferred across the engineering and energy sector and help employers train, retain and recruit highly skilled workers for generations to come.
“There is a huge amount of UK expertise, a significant proportion of which is already situated in the region. Our aim is to tap into this expertise and work with employers to deliver huge benefits to the local economy through enhanced employment and training opportunities.”
The Academy is believed to be one of the first educational facilities of its kind in the North East and will offer a range of courses including, Specialist Diplomas, Apprenticeships and Foundation, Honours and Masters Degrees relevant to offshore wind and wind technologies.
The North Bank of the Tyne has already attracted world-class manufacturing organisations in the offshore and energy sectors and is a major area for investment and job creation.
Centre plans were developed with support from major employers, including Shepherd Offshore Group, Duco Ltd and Wellstream. The Academy is also part of phase 1 of North Tyneside Council’s Learning Village.
Offshore WIND staff, May 14, 2012; Image: Newcastle College