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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Government go-ahead for new technical college

NEW specialist technical college, providing 500 student places, is to be built at Lillyhall on land close to Energus and Lakes College.

MAN WITH A PLAN: Above, Rob Rimmer heads up the Energy Coast Campus in the Energus building, Lillyhall, Workington

By Amy Fenton

The project, which will involve a new £10m building, will be the first of its kind in the UK specialising in courses linked to the growing energy sector.

The Britain’s Energy Coast University Technical College will teach 14 to 19-year-olds and will be up and running in time for 2014.

The plan was given the go-ahead by the government last month(may) following an application from Britain’s Energy Coast Campus. It is one of 15 new state-funded ventures nationally announced under a government initiative to develop colleges relevant to local areas.

It will differ from traditional colleges, with students training in a work-simulated environment, in industry conditions, on real projects for local businesses.

Subjects will include nuclear, wind farms, tidal and hydro, bio-mass, anaerobic digestion, solar energies and green construction, alongside national curriculum topics.

Rob Rimmer, programme director for Britain’s Energy Coast Campus, said it would help to create a skilled workforce to make West Cumbria one of the most important areas in the UK for energy.

He said: “The site of the college is still to be decided but it will be built close to Energus, Lakes College and the new Britain’s Energy Coast Construction Skills Centre.

“It will offer a very different way of learning to young people, encouraging team working, leadership and communications skills.

“The college will be supported by employers, directly linked to industry.”

The bid was supported by the University of Cumbria, Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Lakes College and Gen II Training, and had the backing of West Cumbria’s MPs Tony Cunningham and Jamie Reed.

Workington MP Mr Cunningham said: “If we are going to get a new nuclear power station, estimates for the build suggest it will create anything up to 10,000 new jobs.

“I want as many of those new jobs as possible to be filled by local people. If we are going to do that and attract new industry we have got to have a skilled workforce.

“This college will give people that opportunity. That’s got to be good news.”

Rt Hon Brian Wilson, chairman of Britain’s Energy Coast, said: “A skilled workforce is critical if West Cumbria is to capitalise on the unprecedented levels of investment set to take place in the nuclear sector and across a wide spectrum of Clean Technologies. Britain’s Energy Coast wants to see sustainable growth. This facility will allow our young people to get the qualifications they need to gain higher paid and more secure jobs in the area’s energy industry – one that is set to grow substantially over the coming years.”


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