College and council bringing green training to region
By Sarah Wood
Skills in renewable energy and retrofit are set to receive a major boost, thanks to a grant award from a Gloucestershire-based fund.
South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College and Stroud District Council have secured £450,000 from the Gloucestershire Strategic Economic Development Fund to create the Berkeley Low Carbon Training Centre - a renewable energy and retrofit training centre at the college's Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park, Berkeley.
Using the former Berkeley research laboratories, the investment will convert the redundant buildings into training rooms with training rigs, classrooms and workshops to teach the vital skills needed to support the net zero carbon emission target. The investment also includes a digital training studio to provide blended learning programmes to the sector.
The investment will create a regional training centre for the South West. It will complement the existing low-carbon knowledge cluster on the science park, including the Active Building Centre and the SGS Berkeley University Technical College.
Training will boost the skills of people working in the renewable energy sector, including installers and specifiers for solar, heat pumps and retrofit.
Courses will also be provided for those wishing to enter the sector and for businesses and individuals who want to understand how they can improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon emissions.
The centre will support the curriculum of the University Technical College already on site. Both the UTC and SGS College will support low-carbon employers with the progression of graduates into jobs and apprenticeships.
Sara-Jane Watkins, SGS College principal, said: "Over the last five years, our work at the Berkeley campus has really been focused on supporting innovation into green technologies and working with partners to understand how critical net zero is to the sustainability and survival of future generations.
"It is vital that this research is now translated into provision that enables installers and home designers to create sustainable energy sources, both in new domestic homes and buildings, as well as equipping contractors with the ability to retrofit existing housing stock, to ensure we are all working towards energy efficient properties."
Cllr Catherine Braun, leader of Stroud District Council, said: "Skills to deliver energy efficient and low carbon properties have never been more essential and I am delighted that, through our partnership with SGC College, we will have a new centre in our district that will equip individuals and businesses throughout Gloucestershire and beyond to make the vital transition to a net zero future."
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