A MAJOR development is to be built on the north bank of the Tyne to house a centre dedicated to developing high level skills for the renewables sector.
The Renewable Energies Academy, a hub for offshore wind and wind technologies, is being developed in partnership with Shepherd Offshore Group as part of its investment to create a world-class manufacturing, training and research and development centre.
Building work is due to begin in March with courses expected to start from September 2011.
The main project finances have been provided by Newcastle College Group (NCG) with a contribution from One North East and the support of Newcastle and North Tyneside councils.
The project comprises a multi-partner, cross-regional collaboration between the college, major employers, local authorities, sector skills councils and strategic stakeholders in the sector and industry.
Once complete, it is believed the 20,000 sq ft academy will be the first educational facility of its kind in the UK and will provide an offshore wind and wind technology centre of innovation, training and development.
Dame Jackie Fisher, chief executive of NCG, said: “This is a major development for the college and the result of the productive partnerships that we have built with employers in the renewable energies sector.
“The academy has been developed in direct response to the national skills gap and the need for higher level skills and training.
“For the first time employers will have dedicated facilities in the region to enable them to up-skill and cross-skill their workforce.
“The centre will also help to meet the future needs of industry as the curriculum is developed to provide sector specific training up to masters degree.
“There is a huge amount of UK expertise, a significant proportion of which is already situated in the region.
“Our aim is to tap into this expertise and work with employers to deliver huge benefits to the local economy through enhanced employment and training opportunities.”
Bruce Shepherd, managing director of Shepherd Offshore said: “We are delighted to continue our support for Newcastle College’s endeavours and see real benefit in providing first class facilities for the college, existing companies and those looking to locate new capacity on the north bank of the river.”