A regional initiative to reshape training in green skills and renewable energy, delivered in partnership with Newcastle College, has secured government funding.

The project, which aims to develop and deliver courses to meet the skills needs of North East employers in green power and green transport, has been awarded £2.4m from the Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund.

The successful bid was led by Northumberland College and will be delivered by colleges and local training providers from the North of Tyne Combined Authority area, including Newcastle College, Tyne Coast College, SORA Group, 3t Energy Group and Energy Central. Industry and employer representative bodies such as North East England Chamber of Commerce, North East Automotive Alliance and Energi Coast will be integral to the project’s success.

Project partners will create new courses in battery manufacture, vehicle electrification, micro renewables and offshore wind while investing in specialist, technical equipment to support teaching, training and delivery.  Using cutting-edge technology, students will be able to experience scenarios such as working on an offshore wind turbine and operating in a clean room environment located in a battery giga plant.

A STEM outreach programme for schools and local community organisations will also be established to raise awareness of the green energy and green transport sectors and showcase careers available.

For Newcastle College, the project is an opportunity to expand its existing extensive offer in renewable energy delivered at its specialist, award-winning Energy Academy, based in both Wallsend and Port of Blyth.

The funding announcement comes just months after Newcastle College University Centre invested £2million into STEM facilities. Robots, drones and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging equipment have been added to its industry-standard facilities, which include the world’s most advanced Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) offshore wind training system, which secured the Energy Academy’s role as the North East’s leading training facility for offshore and subsea industry engineers.

Principal Scott Bullock commented: “Newcastle College is proud to join this partnership and work collaboratively with both the energy and education sectors to develop skills training for our region’s energy sector.

“Our vision is to develop the skills and talents of our students to succeed in modern enterprise and make a positive contribution to the prosperity of our region. We have been training future engineers in green energy for over 10 years now at our Energy Academy, investing in our facilities and forging valuable partnerships with industry to ensure our learners gain the skills and experience most valued by employers.

“Offshore wind and renewable energy is one of the North East’s fastest growing industries and a priority area for continued investment and growth, so it’s fantastic that this collaborative project has secured funding that will help produce a skilled workforce and secure the future of our region’s green industries.”