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Construction of Redcar and Cleveland College’s Clean Energy Education Hub is underway in a move to help prepare people for future green jobs coming to the Tees Valley.

First spades in the ground on the site on Corporation Road mark the development of the £3.2m facility which will deliver the skills needed by employers in the clean energy and renewable sector, and also drive the ambitions of young people across the borough.

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “We have been bowled over by the level of support this initiative has generated, both across the region and nationally.”

Primarily funded by the Town Deal Fund, the hub will provide a practical learning environment that simulates real workspaces to service domestic and industrial markets.

The college is working with the Redcar Town Deal Board, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, the combined authority and industry leaders to ensure the hub is positioned to support the area’s emerging green economy.

Jason said: “Teesside and the Tees Valley is lining itself up to be a green cluster for global businesses leading the way in greener, cleaner ways of living and working.  By working with leaders in the clean and renewable energy industry we will be able to ensure a training provision that responds to the real demands of the sector, not just in the short term but also in five, 10, 15 years’ time.”

Contractor Britcon has been appointed to deliver the project, a 1000 square metre new build which will link to the college’s existing building with its own access route.  Doors are due to open to its first learners in January 2023.

With additional investment from the Education Training Collective and the Skills Development Fund, the hub will deliver training to school leavers and adult learners, as well as offering higher education, commercial, professional, and bespoke employer-led programmes.

The project has been further boosted by the commitment of a donation from bp 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 company has announced plans for three projects in the region: HyGreen Teesside, which will utilise green hydrogen, H2Teesside, which will produce blue hydrogen, and first-of-a-kind gas-fired power and carbon capture project NZT Power.

Masudur Rahman, bp’s social performance manager in the UK, said: “It’s great to see work starting on the Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar and Cleveland College. We’re proud to support their efforts to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and help equip them with the skills to pursue careers in the low carbon industry. Supporting the next generation energy innovators is an important part of our wider backing of Teesside helping to create a net zero future and nurturing the talent we will need to help get us there.”

Darren Winter is chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, he said: “The Town Deal aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Redcar and the surrounding area. The hub is great news for all young people in the borough which is specially designed to equip them with the relevant skills needed in jobs now and in the future, especially in sectors in emerging technologies.”

Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, added: “The hub will provide a fantastic opportunity for residents to gain the skills which will lead to a well-paid and successful career in the industries of the future. Our borough will be at the heart of a green energy revolution, and we want all our residents to benefit from this.”

Describing Teesside as being “at the epicentre of the UK’s clean industrial future”, Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “With everything from new hydrogen technology to the manufacturing of wind farm blades coming to Teesside, renewable energy is perhaps the most crucial link in that chain. 

“What is more crucial still is that it is Teessiders who benefit from the high-quality, well-paid jobs being created in this exciting new sector.  And so, I not only welcome, but applaud the creation of Redcar and Cleveland College’s £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub.

“By providing Teessiders with the training programmes our new industry needs, we're ensuring local people will become the primary beneficiaries of the UK’s green industrial revolution.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to see spades in the ground on this exciting project. Schemes like these are helping to give current and future generations the best possible chance to take advantage of the opportunities we’re creating within the safer, cleaner and healthier industries of tomorrow.

“With the government and major global companies such as bp investing in Teesside, this centre will help support the sectors of the future that are central to my plan for jobs, a plan that is already creating good-quality, well-paid jobs for local workers.

“This is the latest in a long list of initiatives boosting our region's clean energy credentials, building on our work to become the UK’s premier location for offshore wind and supporting projects like Net Zero Teesside which is developing the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster. Together these will supercharge plans for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to become a national powerhouse for clean energy.”

Nick Shepherd, managing director of Britcon, added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland College and all stakeholders to deliver this exciting green energy training building.

“We have a strong delivery pedigree within the North-east and our strategy is always to maximise the use of local suppliers and support employment and training opportunities. This project provides another fantastic opportunity to leave a real local legacy whilst supporting the important development of the clean energy sector.”

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