Redcar and Cleveland College today opened the doors to its Clean Energy Education Hub, part of a recent £6.5m investment in college facilities.
Made possible by the Redcar Town Deal investment plan, the new £3.2m training centre will focus on giving people the skills to meet the demands of Teesside’s growing renewable and low carbon sector.
“We are incredibly proud to deliver this outstanding new facility that responds to the exciting clean energy employment opportunities across the Tees Valley,” said Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner.
The college has worked in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and industry giants, including bp and Northern Gas Networks, who stepped up to help shape plans.
The Clean Energy Education Hub’s £2.4m capital injection is a flagship project of the Town Deal Fund.
Darren Winter, chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, said: “The Redcar Town Deal board is delighted to have been able to support this fantastic project. It will make a positive difference in the lives of people in Redcar and the surrounding area by equipping them with the relevant skills needed now in jobs and in the future, especially in new technologies.”
The Clean Energy Education Hub will specialise in clean and renewable industry training for school leavers, apprentices and adult learners, including commercial courses, bespoke employer led programmes and higher education.
It incorporates an all-new carbon capture rig, designed and built to help train and inspire the next generation of Net Zero engineers.
Kitted out with all new specialist high tech equipment, it will support training in EV charging, solar PV installation, air source heat pump installation and maintenance, industrial mechanical, and electrical training.
As the college is the Tees Valley’s official Retrofit Academy CIC training partner, the new facility will also offer retrofit courses, helping to meet the government’s 2050 Net Zero targets.
Supporting the project, energy giant bp has provided £50,000 in funding for the development, backed 20 paid engineering scholarships for school leavers starting at the college this September and committed to help the hub reach into primary and secondary schools to inspire young people across Teesside to pursue careers in clean energy.
Louise Kingham, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president of Europe, said: “At bp we’re excited to be partnering with Redcar and Cleveland College to invest in young Teessiders, and to help them access the high-quality low carbon jobs and long-term careers. The Clean Energy Education Hub can be a vital support for our planned hydrogen and CCS projects and can help turn Teesside into a national leader for low carbon energy, with local people at the heart of that transition.”
Andrew Carter, assistant director for growth and enterprise at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “It is fantastic that the Clean Energy Education Hub will now be opening doors for many local people who want to access the green energy industry which is promised on Teesworks. The hub will provide the skills and training needed ensuring people can access high-quality and well-paid jobs created within the sector.
“As a council we have been proud to work in partnership with the college on this project. It is also the first project from the Redcar Town Deal to be delivered, so I’d like to congratulate everyone who is working so hard to transform Redcar for the better.”
Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: "As a former pupil of Redcar and Cleveland College, I am so proud to support the creation of a Clean Energy Education Hub here.
"Our region has already made significant contributions to the UK's clean energy sector, and this hub will help equip our young people with the skills and knowledge needed to continue to lead the way in this important industry."
The launch of the hub comes as students at Redcar and Cleveland College are reaping the benefits of DfE T Level investment in new workshops, specialist engineering equipment, a revamped healthcare wing and nursery, following a further £3.3m cash injection in facilities.
With funding from the Department for Education’s T Level Capital Funding grant, the college has been approved to deliver T Level courses with specialist routes in engineering, health science and early years.
Facilities include high spec engineering equipment, outdoor training spaces, a refurbished health wing and early years teaching nursery.
College principal Jason said: “It is fantastic to see the college going from strength to strength and playing a key part in preparing local people for the industries of the future. Every investment in our facilities is an investment into the surrounding area, our young people and our wider communities.”