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Business & Economy

Energy education partnership wins collaboration award

Newcastle College has been recognised for its commitment to industry collaboration and vocational education at this year’s Educate the North Awards.

Its visionary relationship with the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult, the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy, received the award for Business Collaboration and Partnerships in FE/HE at the event in Manchester last week.

The collaboration between the two North East businesses saw the installation of the world’s most advanced immersive Hybrid Reality (iHR) training system for the wind industry at Newcastle College’s Energy Academy earlier this year, a unique tool which provides a safe training environment for wind turbine engineers and puts the College at the forefront of skills training for the region’s energy sector.

Receiving the award for Newcastle College was Director of Business Partnerships, Marc McPake who said: “Collaboration with employers is at the centre of everything we do at Newcastle College and our training and development is shaped around skills required by industries across our region.

“Our partnership with ORE Catapult is a fantastic example of how this approach can benefit our students and have a positive impact on an entire industry.

“To receive an award which recognises our efforts in this area is a fantastic achievement and this is something we aim to replicate to tackle skills gaps across every industry.”

The Educate the North Awards is a prestigious annual awards event which celebrates, recognises and shares best practice and excellence in the education sector in the North.

The Business Collaborations and Partnerships award recognises the college’s collaboration with industry to ensure that the qualifications, facilities and skills programmes it offers meet employer demand across the North East.

Prior to the win, ORE Catapult confirmed they wish to continue the partnership with the College, by signing up as a Gold Partner to the Energy Academy’s Employer Partnership Initiative.

The programme prioritises collaboration with industry in order to  provide specialist skills training and pathways into employment for students, whilst addressing key skills gaps in the North East.

McPake continued: “Having ORE Catapult on board with our Energy Academy’s employer partnership initiative will ensure that our students receive high-quality, industry led training which will meet the latest needs of the region’s energy employers.

“The offshore wind sector in particular is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, creating thousands of jobs.

“Technology and innovation are changing the future of education and training and ORE Catapult is a leader in this field for the energy sector.

“I’m positive that their contribution to our offering at the Energy Academy will ensure the talented engineers of the future are work-ready and create a lasting impact by supporting the creation of skilled jobs and employment in our region.”

Tony Quinn, ORE Catapult’s Operations Director, said: “The award win is fantastic recognition of this innovative training tool and Newcastle College’s ability to embed it within their vocational courses.

“It highlights perfectly how industry and education can collaborate to develop skills for the offshore wind sector. As an Employer Partner, we look forward to working closely with Newcastle College to further support skills development in the sector.”