A NEW purpose-build skills centre has opened its doors in the borough which could see thousands of people trained in the renewable energy sector.
Offshore training expert Advanced Industrial Solutions (AIS) has teamed up with Maersk Training to create the one-stop-shop at the AIS centre on the Tyne Tunnel Trading Estate in North Shields.
The well-equipped centre – which will create 80 jobs in the process – will provide dedicated training for the rapidly expanding wind industry as well as the offshore, maritime and industrial sectors.
Around 80 business leaders turned out for the official opening of the centre on April 12.
Paul Stonebanks, managing director of AIS, said: “Today has been a fantastic opportunity to show off our completed training facility and the first class training opportunities it offers to employees and employers alike in the wind, offshore and maritime industries.
“We are now looking forward to cementing the reputation of the north east as a global centre of excellence for offshore, maritime and wind training.”
He added: “Maersk Training is the principle training provider for some of the biggest companies in the world, so we’re flattered that they’ve chosen the AIS North Shields facility for their new site.”
Michael Bang, of Maersk Training, said: “Sectors like renewable energy are experiencing unprecedented growth and have resulting skills shortages that need to be plugged.
“That’s where our centre is ideally placed to help equip the workforce with the skills that are needed.”
AIS received support from North Tyneside Council for the centre, which will be part of the authority’s wider Learning Village initiative.
Mayor Linda Arkley said: “It is fantastic that we have this tremendous learning and training hub on our doorstep.
“The north bank of the Tyne is one of the country’s key locations for the offshore renewable energy sector and, with the help of Enterprise Zone status, it is set to create thousands of new jobs.
“It is vital that we provide people with the skills they need to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.
“The Offshore Learning and Skills centre, as part of the Learning Village, aims to do exactly that.”
As well as specially designed structures, platforms, confined spaces and rigging and lifting areas, the centre features real life and computerised simulation and technical training areas, along with a 20-metre all training tower.
It also includes classrooms, lecture areas, break-out spaces and a staffed canteen.
Officials expect that more than 2,000 delegates per year will be trained at the centre for qualifications such as rope access, insulation, working at height, confined space, rigging and lifting, health and safety, and specialist training for the emerging renewable energy sector.
There will also be a chance for school visits and work experience to highlight the potential careers in the offshore and renewable energy sector.
For more information on AIS visit www.aisgroup.co.uk and for details on Maersk Training visit www.maersktraining.com