By DARA BUTTERFIELD
A new National College for Wind Energy has been announced by Vince Cable, UK Business Secretary. The college is designed to help the UK develop world-class industry skills and is to be based on the Humber with centres across the country.
The primary focus of the ‘hub’ will be offshore wind, where a large growth in skills is needed. The National College is also to provide support for onshore wind and marine renewables.
Benj Sykes, Co-Chairman of the Offshore Wind Industry Council and Head of Asset Management, DONG Energy, said: “The Offshore Wind Industry Council fully supports the development of the National College for Wind Energy.
“This is a great example of industry and government working in partnership to ensure that education and training routes are providing the skills our industry needs.
“Initiatives such as this will ensure that thousands of young people, as well as experienced workers making the transition from other sectors, will find employment in the UK’s offshore wind industry in the years ahead”.
The college plans to open its doors in late 2016, and will award new and mature students with professional qualifications and short courses (post A-level equivalent) in addition to bespoke programmes as directed and sponsored by employers.
Business secretary, Vince Cable, said: “The UK can no longer afford to lag behind countries like France and Germany, which have invested heavily in technical skills at the highest level for generations.
“The National Colleges will function on a par with our most prestigious universities, delivering training that matches the best in the world. They will help build a strong, balanced economy that delivers opportunity across all regions in the UK.”
Up to £80 million of capital funding will be matched by employers over 2015-16 and 2016-17 – a potential total investment in the colleges of £160 million by 2017.