Plans unveiled for new green energy training centre

by Renewable Energy Installer. Published Mon 19 Apr 2010 19:18
New microgen training centre for UK

The UK's first national training centre dedicated to green energy microgeneration technologies is to open later this year.

Construction work will begin this month on the new Green Energy Training Centre (GETC) on Wirral International Business Park in Bromborough with funding for the £280,000 project being drawn from both the public and private sector.

The GETC is a partnership between the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) and two Wirral based private businesses Stiebel Eltron, the German-owned renewable energy product manufacturer, and Scientiam the Birkenhead-based training provider.

In total Stiebel Eltron will invest £57,372, Scientiam £100,050 and SFA £122,275, through the Regional Skills Capital Development Fund. The GETC will be built at Stiebel Eltron’s premises and is due to open in July.

Stiebel Eltron’s UK managing director Mark McManus said it had chosen to work with Scientiam because it shared his ambitious outlook for the centre and because of its established track record in training and skills.

“We know the GETC can play a vital role in filling the green energy skills gap,” he said. “We further know emphatically that green energy is the future with £100bn being invested in the industry creating an estimated 160,000 jobs by 2020.

“However, if we are to meet the UK’s target of 15% of UK energy coming from renewable sources by 2020, there is a desperate need to improve the quantity and calibre of training available specifically in microgeneration technologies.

“This is precisely what the GETC will focus on. Microgeneration is defined as green technologies found within homes and commercial properties which produce heating, hot water, ventilation, lighting and electricity.

“This includes equipment such as ground and air source heat pumps, solar panels and solar photovoltaic. These technologies have a vital role to play as today renewables account for less than 2% of energy production and by 2017 all new homes built must be carbon neutral.”

Mr McManus said the GETC will provide the highest standards of training on the latest equipment helping installers from across the UK become accredited for the Government’s Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

This accreditation is critical as without it property owners using installers not recognised by the MCS cannot apply for Government grants, which can pay up to half the costs of buying and installing green energy equipment.

Scientiam managing director Mandi O’Shea urged heating and plumbing businesses keen to improve their green energy training and qualifications to get in touch to enrol on courses.

“We are incredibly excited about the new GETC and what it can do for businesses and young people across Merseyside and the North West,” she said. “We know through SummitSkills, the Sector Skills Council for the building services engineering sector, that the 2000 heating and plumbing business in the North West are calling for more green energy training to help them comply with new building standards.

“Moreover we know the centre will play a key role in training the next generation of tradesmen to work in the green industry. In the teeth of a recession and with youth unemployment at its highest level since records began we need to train young people in a sector where there is a massive jobs demand, and there is committed long term investment.

“But to ensure this centre really does make an impact we have partnered with Stiebel Eltron as one of the biggest and most established renewable energy product manufacturers in the world. With its experience and expertise we know the GETC will have considerable substance behind it.”

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