College Welcomes Lancashire Energy HQ

Published: Monday 21 July 2014

Blackpool and The Fylde College has welcomed the announcement that £6.2million of Lancashire Growth Deal funding has been earmarked for the college to develop its existing energy sector provision and create an Energy HQ for Lancashire.

The Lancashire Growth Deal is a six year £364m package of new investment agreed between Government and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which will realise the growth potential of the whole of Lancashire.

A key element of the Lancashire Growth Deal is enhancing Lancashire’s capacity to deliver the skills that the energy sector needs now and in the future. As part of the Deal, £6.2m will be allocated between 2015 and 2016 in developing Blackpool and The Fylde College’s facilities. In addition, a further £7.8m will be invested by the college, employers and other sources should all proposals come to fruition.

Daryl Platt, Executive Director of Commercial Development at Blackpool and The Fylde College said:

“This is great news for Lancashire. The Lancashire Energy HQ will support industry by supplying job ready students with the required skills, knowledge and training, and give the people of Lancashire and the Fylde coast the best opportunity to secure jobs in this field.” 

Blackpool and The Fylde College already has a proven reputation in this field. Its Fleetwood Nautical Campus has over a decade of experience working with the onshore and offshore energy sectors and has recently installed a 17metre training tower for engineers to complete working at height courses. This, along with existing courses carried out in the environmental tank, means the campus now offers full training for engineers working on offshore wind farms.

The development will take a phased approach. In addition to Fleetwood’s existing offer, construction is underway on an Advanced Technology Centre which will deliver the advanced manufacturing and engineering skills required by the sector. A Grow Offshore event will also take place at the college which will advise SMEs about entering the supply chain for the offshore and onshore wind market.

B&FC has already begun to look at possible sites for a dedicated training facility along the M55 corridor to allow further penetration into Lancashire as well as across the Fylde Coast and enhance its current curriculum offer.

Edwin Booth, Chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said:

“This investment, backed up with strong industry support, places Lancashire firmly at the heart of an emerging centre of expertise in developing a skilled workforce for the energy sector. As ever, it's great to see the county at the forefront of a high-tech, highly-skilled industry.”

On 16 June the Government launched a call for expressions of interest in developing a new generation of specialist National Colleges, with powers of curriculum development, awarding body status and powers to design and deliver higher level skills provision.

Daryl Platt continues:

“We have been working closely with partners to tender for a National Energy College to be sited in Blackpool. This new investment in an Energy HQ, backed by the LEP, is a clear signal that Lancashire has the potential to be central to any industry led proposals. We will continue to push for a National Energy College to be sited in Lancashire and we believe any additional regulatory functions should be accommodated within the national college.”

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