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Business & Economy

College students in line for jobs at world’s largest wind farm

Students at Newcastle College are set to benefit from news that the Port of Tyne will become the new operations and maintenance base for the world’s largest wind farm – Dogger Bank.

Generating enough electricity to power 4.5 million homes, Dogger Bank is a joint venture between SSE Renewables and Equinor.

The new maintenance base is set to provide 200 jobs when it opens in 2022.

Student enrolling onto a two-year subsea and renewable energy technologies course at Newcastle College this September will qualify just in time for its opening.

Launched in 2019, the course is the first to be delivered from the innovative partnership between Newcastle College and Port Training Services (PTS), formed to create training programmes with direct pathways into the North East’s offshore energy sector.

The Level 3 programme has been developed with input from offshore and energy employers and is tailored to meet the skills requirements of the sector.

35 students enrolled onto the course last year and the college plans to grow these numbers for 2020.

Andrew Esson, director of industrial strategy at Newcastle College, said: “The news of Dogger Bank windfarm arriving on Tyneside couldn’t come at a better time for the region.

“The North East has long been a hub for the UK’s offshore industry, and it is a sector which will only continue to grow, even during economic uncertainty.

“The jobs that the windfarm creates will require the right skills and Newcastle College is in a unique position to provide that skills training.”

Newcastle College opened an Energy Academy in 2012 and is home to the world’s most advanced Immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) offshore wind training facility.

The academy trains offshore and subsea engineers from Level 3 up to foundation degree, as well as bespoke training for local employers.

Andrew continued: “Last year’s sector deal for offshore wind saw the Government forecast 17,000 new energy sector jobs by 2030. Many of those have been earmarked for the North East and Dogger Bank is just the beginning.

“Our aim is to ensure that those jobs stay in the North East, by training work-ready engineers with the right skills and experience.

“Our partnerships and our facilities are at the centre of that and they allow us to identify skills shortages in the sector so that we can shape the training that we offer to ensure it meets the needs of industry and puts our students in the best position possible.”