Energy students at Newcastle College are in prime position to secure jobs at the future operations and maintenance base of the world’s biggest wind far.
Dogger Bank Wind Farm will generate enough to power 4.5 million homes and is set to create hundreds of jobs for the North East with the news that Port of Tyne will be the home for its new base.
Students enrolling onto a two-year Subsea and Renewable Energy Technologies course at Newcastle College in September will qualify just in time for the base opening.
Launched in 2019, the course is the first to be delivered from the innovative partnership between Newcastle College and Port Training Services (PTS), formed to create training programmes with direct pathways into the North East’s offshore energy sector.
Developed with input from offshore and energy employers based at Port of Blyth, the Level 3 programme has been tailored to meet the skills requirements of the sector, preparing students for careers as subsea engineers and wind turbine technicians. 35 students enrolled on to the course last year and following the news of Dogger Bank, the College now plans to grow these numbers for September 2020.
“The news of the Dogger Bank Windfarm base arriving on Tyneside couldn’t come at a better time for the region,” says Andrew Esson, Director of Industrial Strategy at Newcastle College.
“The North East has long been a hub for the UK’s offshore industry and it is a sector which will only continue to grow, even during economic uncertainty. The jobs that the base and the windfarm creates will require the right skills and Newcastle College is in a unique position to provide that skills training.”
Newcastle College has been at the forefront of training for the region’s energy sector since it opened its award-winning Energy Academy in 2012. Based in Wallsend, it is home to the world’s most advanced Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) offshore wind training facility. The Academy trains the next generation of offshore and subsea industry engineers, offering courses and apprenticeships from Level 3 up to foundation degree level, as well as bespoke training for local employers.
Its collaboration with Port of Blyth and its training arm PTS is one which ensures that the training on offer is right for the industry, as well as the students enrolling. The partnership was formed to develop new training routes, but it also allows students on any of the College’s energy focused courses the unique opportunity to benefit from the training facilities at both sites.
“There lots of opportunities for the sector to grow,” continues Andrew. “Last year’s Wind Sector Deal seen the government announce a forecast of 17,000 new energy sector jobs by 2030. Many of those have been earmarked for the North East and Dogger Bank is just the beginning.
“Our aim is to ensure that those jobs stay in the North East, by training work-ready engineers with the right skills and experience. Our partnerships and our facilities are at the centre of that and they allow us to identify skills shortages in the sector so that we can shape the training that we offer to ensure it meets the needs of industry and puts our students in the best position possible.
“The courses that we are developing are offering people in our region real career opportunities and it’s exciting to see those opportunities emerging.”