October 17 - Harwich International Port is joining forces with Colchester Institute, a large vocational training provider in the UK, to create 'The Energy Skills Centre at Harwich.'
The new Skills Centre, to be developed in Harwich, will have an engineering focus and is designed to meet the current needs of employers in the area, with a keen eye on the emerging offshore Wind Energy Industry.
This project, set within the port estate, will provide a range of further education and apprenticeship programmes to assist business development and regeneration - all to be created by the well-established Centre for Engineering at the College. A memorandum of understanding has been signed by both parties that will see the College make a significant investment to refurbish and fit out premises with state of the art equipment within Hamilton House, Parkeston.
David Gledhill, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd, which owns Harwich International Port, commented: ""We are pleased to be a part of this visionary programme, as we are very aware of the need for expanding support for this crucial industry and acting as a catalyst for local skills growth, to enable Harwich International Port to remain at the forefront of offshore renewables in the UK."
The College hopes to begin the Further Education training programmes, in engineering and welding, from early 2012. There are also plans for over 200 learners to be trained in the Centre during the 2012-13 academic year across a range of programmes, including pre-apprenticeships. What's more, the College will look at designing further courses, specifically with employers in mind.
With the East of England already being host to the world's largest offshore wind market it is clear that there will be a need to up-skill the local workforce to meet the needs of the offshore wind industry, and having an onsite training facility can only assist attracting major investment in this regard.