Engineering students got the chance to get a first glimpse of the development of Redcar and Cleveland College’s all-new carbon capture training rig during a visit to the Wilton Centre.

The rig is being designed and built to help train and inspire the next generation of NET Zero engineers.

Developed by JBA Engineering’s subsidiary business, Darby Tech Training Equipment, the facility will become a key part of the college’s Clean Energy Education Hub (CEEH), replicating the demands of the real work environment.

“The kit the students are working on needs to look like what they’ll find in industry,” said Dave Thompson, who is leading the carbon capture training rig project at the college.

“We wanted something that was impressive, had some height to it and was equipped with proper vessels – and that’s what we’re getting.” 

As well as incorporating working parts, QR codes will be positioned around the rig to provide students with access to e-learning resources.

Russ Holmes, JBA’s operations director, said: “This rig will help provide people with the knowledge and the skills for the jobs of the future in the new clean energy industries on Teesside.”

DarbyTech’s managing director Gary Lawson added: “This is all about providing a hands-on learning experience in a safe environment.  At the same time, we’re all trying to inspire young people about engineering and highlighting the very real difference they’ll be making to the future of the planet.

“We’ve sent training rigs to the United States, Mexico and the Middle East.  We’ve even sent equipment that teaches students at university in Alaska how a wellbore works but this is the first time we have provided a rig to train young people in our region.”

Engineering students Warren and Maddi captured a first look at the rig during a visit to the Wilton Centre – part of Pioneer Group’s portfolio of eight UK sites – which accommodates a number of companies engaged on Net Zero projects as well as the circular economy.

Warren, 17, believes the rig will help him prepare properly for the world of work.  He said: “You’ll be able to see how it works, take it apart and put it back together again. We’ll actually be doing it rather than looking at a screen and imagining how it works.”

For Maddi, also 17, who is also about to move on to her level 4 qualification, the rig could help her achieve her lifetime ambition.  She said: “It was always my dream to do something like this. From there I’m either thinking about going to university or straight into a job linked to this.”

The Clean Energy Education Hub is funded primarily by the Town Deal – part of the government’s levelling up strategy – with additional investment from the Education Training Collective and the Skills Development Fund.

As well as providing training for school leavers and adult learners, the hub will offer higher education, commercial, professional, and bespoke employer-led programmes.

The project has also received a donation from bp – which is involved in three projects in the region - to bring community engagement and further development to the hub, with a focus on raising awareness of the opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children.

The Wilton Centre’s leasing and assistant asset manager, Claire Morton, said: “It’s great to see one of our occupiers working with our local college.  Hopefully before too long some of the students will be coming here to begin their careers.”

Gary Lawson Of Darbytech, Students Warren Mcconnell And Maddi Darbyshire And Dave Thompson From Redcar And Cleveland College
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