Energy skills boost for Yarmouth

GREAT Yarmouth has been lined up as one of two potential sites for a new �11m energy skills hub which could be up and running in under two years, according to a report.

Energy sector bodies from the region have joined forces to create the hub, which would supply training to tens of thousands of people a year. East Anglia is seen as sitting on an “energy gold mine” but lacks the necessary skills levels to cash in on the boom.

The new centre, provisionally called the EpisCentre, would act as a hub, bringing together and plugging the gaps between training providers such as City College Norwich, Hethel Engineering Centre, Lowestoft College and the University of East Anglia.

The two-acre site would include offices that could support training for 20,000 people a year. Four potential sites have been identified: South Denes at Yarmouth; Beacon Park, at Gorleston; Gas Works Road, at Lowestoft; and Riverside, near Asda at Lowestoft.

One will be picked in the new year by the Skills for Energy Partnership, which, with the East of England Energy Group (EEEGr) is behind the project, before a bid for cash is submitted to the government’s regional growth fund.

Some �75,000 of preparatory work is expected to start in 2011.

Celia Anderson, executive director of Skills for Energy in the East of England, said: “We believe this is the best way to avert a critical shortage of skills in an industry which faces unparalleled growth in the region, whether in wind power, gas, nuclear, agricultural biofuels, carbon capture and storage, marine energy or clean coal.”