A new engineering training centre has been officially opened in Stockton, designed to meet the skills needs of the UK’s emerging industries.
The new £1.12m NETA Training Group facility is equipped to respond to demands of employers operating in the renewable energy, low carbon and mining sectors, building on the Tees Valley’s existing industrial infrastructure.
A showpiece of the brand new centre is a 26-tonne Nordtank NTK 600/43 nearshore wind turbine nacelle, which when operational had a capacity of generating 600,000 kW. The nacelle will be used for the basic technical training of those working in the offshore and onshore wind industry.
NETA’s managing director, Phil Blewitt, said: “By putting in place the skills infrastructure required by these important industries, it will help the Tees Valley to build on existing assets and secure its position as a centre of excellence for engineering, energy and low carbon.
“Within the last decade the UK has become a world leader in the renewable energy sector, particularly in wind energy. The Tees Valley is in an excellent position to corner a large section of this market.”
For more than 40 years Stockton-based NETA Training has specialised in the provision of industry-standard vocational skills training for the engineering, manufacturing, and construction sectors.
By expanding their offer to meet the changing demands of industry, Phil said: “The new centre will enable NETA to help the Tees Valley become a high-value, low-carbon, diverse and inclusive economy, putting in place the infrastructure to develop both the current and future skills base required to meet the needs of these growing industries.”
Funded by the Tees Valley Combined Authority Local Growth Fund, Stockton Riverside College and NETA Training, the NETA Lustrum site incorporates a DS-5 and DS-20 drill simulator, for use in the training of offshore drilling and well control, it is also the new home to NETA’s electrical CompEx and mechanical joint integrity division, as well as the renewable energy department.
A brand new AM2 electrical testing and re-skilling workshop will also help equip the region to meet the increase in demand in the industrial and engineering sector to verify and test employees’ skills.
The Government’s National Infrastructure Plan for Skills sets out a pipeline of demand for over 150,000 engineering construction workers by 2020, which is driving demand to recruit and train around 100,000 additional workers by the end of the decade.
NETA managing director Phil Blewitt said: “Establishing the new centre, along with the recent expansion of our welding facilities at NETA Training’s Pennine Avenue site, and the creation of a new technical testing centre, will help the Tees Valley to capitalise on the growing demand for advanced engineering and growth in UK renewable technologies.
“In turn the new training and testing provision will help industry in the region keep up with changes and developments in key sectors. Delivering work-relevant skills and training will help meet current and future skills needs.”
Officially opening the centre at a launch event today was Deputy Mayor of the Tees Valley and Leader of Stockton Borough Council Cllr Bob Cook.
Cllr Cook said: “The renewables and low carbon sector is an innovative and growing element of Tees Valley’s economy, but one with close ties to our industrial heritage.
“The facilities on offer will help deliver high-quality skills training to meet future needs across the industry, add real value to our area and nurture all-important expertise.”