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Redcar and Cleveland College unveils plans for Clean Energy Education Hub

Artist impression of Redcar and Cleveland College's Clean Energy Education Hub

Redcar and Cleveland College has unveiled exciting plans for the development of its Clean Energy Education Hub.

The hub will be funded primarily by a £2.41m capital injection from the Town Deal Fund, a programme announced by the government supporting economic growth in towns across England, along with additional investment from the Education Training Collective.

Further financial support from the Skills Development Fund will provide a catalyst for the centre to progress its credentials and expertise, supporting the green revolution across the Tees Valley.

Described by the Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien, as playing a “crucial role supporting the Tees Valley’s wider green economy”, the facility is on track for spades in the ground by early May.

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “These are exciting times for our region.  The Tees Valley is at the forefront of developments in the clean and renewable energy sector.   

“Now we want to make sure that the people who live here have the skills, knowledge and expertise to have the best possible chance of directly benefitting from the jobs being created on our doorstep.”

The hub has been further boosted by a donation from bp. It will support the development of the hub and community engagement to raise awareness of opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children.

Louise Kingham CBE, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president of Europe, said: “The Clean Energy Education Hub will help equip young people from across Teesside with the skills they need to develop careers in a range of industries that will lead the energy transition.  Supporting the programme through our partnership with Redcar and Cleveland College is another sign of our commitment to the local economy and community.  With its tightly-clustered heavy industry and proud industrial heritage, Teesside is the perfect place to showcase net zero and the talent we will need to get us there.”

Worth a total investment of almost £3.2m, the Clean Energy Education Hub will deliver training for careers in the clean and renewable energy industry.

Working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and industry leading employers, such as RWE Sofia Windfarms and Northern Gas Networks, the college is ensuring the facility is built to meet real industry skill demands.

College principal Jason added: “Behavioural competence and soft skills are what employers seek in addition to formal qualifications. The Clean Energy Education Hub will provide a skills ready workforce for the future.”

Welcoming the plans, Councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council said: “There is a huge opportunity for Redcar and Cleveland to be at the centre of the green energy industry in the future. The development of Teesworks brings the promise of thousands of high quality and well-paid jobs and it is vital that our residents are well prepared to take these opportunities. The Clean Energy Education Hub will provide high class training in the industries of the future and will mean young people in Redcar and Cleveland can receive the kind of training in their own borough which will thoroughly prepare them to move into work.

“We look forward to working with Redcar and Cleveland College to make the Clean Energy Education Hub a huge success.”

In January, a pre-launch event which outlined the strategic plans for the hub, held at Redcar and Cleveland College, saw guest speakers including bp’s senior vice president for Europe and head of country, UK, Louise Kingham CBE, Northern Gas Networks’ HR director Lindsey Filer, RWE Sofia Windfarm’s supply chain manager, Graham Wright, alongside, Mary Lanigan, sharing their views on the vast opportunities ahead for both employers and the local community.

The Clean Energy Education Hub will specialise in clean energy and renewable industry training for both domestic and industrial markets.  Delivering training to school leavers, apprentices and adult learners, the hub’s offer will include higher education, commercial and professional courses, and will also respond to employers needs through bespoke employer-led programmes. 

Jason said: “Linked to the college building, on Corporation Road, with its own access route and identity, the hub will be approximately 1000 square metres and will provide a practical learning environment which simulates real workspaces to service the domestic and industrial markets. Practising what we preach, the facility will be powered by solar panels and air source heat pump technology.”

Darren Winter, chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, said of the project: “On behalf of the Town Deal Board, I am delighted funds from the Town Deal are supporting the build of the Clean Energy Education Hub and helping young people in their careers so quickly with a planned opening in early 2023.”

Minister for Levelling Up Neil O’Brien said: “It’s fantastic to see plans unveiled for Redcar and Cleveland College Clean Energy Education Hub.

“Supported by £2.41 million from the Government’s Town Fund, the hub will offer training and educational opportunities for local people in the clean energy sector.

“This will play a crucial role supporting Tees Valley’s wider green economy, which boasts one of the country’s first Freeports, leading the charge in the low carbon sector.”

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