A new state-of-the-art training facility for the energy, engineering and maritime sectors is set to launch in Lowestoft, Suffolk. As the UK’s second-largest centre for energy, with a recognised heritage in the oil and gas industry, Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth are at the heart of the world’s largest market for offshore energy and the UK’s most dense offshore wind development.

The opening of East Coast College’s brand new Energy Skills Centre is set to help East Anglia stay at the forefront of the UK’s growing energy and engineering industries.

The £11.7m project, supported by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund, will become home to East Coast College’s innovative East Coast Energy Training Academy. Based at the college’s Lowestoft campus, the academy will combine cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art facilities to support the development of higher-level technical skills and expertise in the energy, maritime and engineering sectors.

The academy will offer clear progression pathways, from Level 3 through to higher-level study programmes and apprenticeships across the nuclear, oil and gas, decommissioning and renewables industries. Commercial customers who want to upskill and develop their staff’s technical and management competencies and qualifications will also be able to sign up to take courses at the state-of-the-art centre.

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership:

“Our east coast energy cluster is world-class and the potential, especially for our renewable clean energy resource, is vast. But to harness that potential, we need to ensure the industry has the skilled workforce it needs, and this facility promises to do just that.

“Driving skills and high-quality employment is fundamental to our goal to create a more inclusive economy and this centre for excellence with national and international specialisms will play a pivotal role in achieving this and, in turn, helping to grow Norfolk and Suffolk’s economy.”

Students and commercial customers will have access to a range of world class facilities, including industry standard pneumatics and hydraulics training rigs, Kongsberg Maritime simulation equipment and an OPITO-approved Emergency Management Centre.

By establishing a regional centre of excellence with national and international specialisms, the academy will work with regional and specialist employers to ensure a pipeline of highly skilled workers to meet both existing industry demands and respond to the new large scale investments planned in wind and nuclear energy.

Minister of State for Local Growth, the Rt Hon Jake Berry MP, added:

“We’re boosting economic growth across the whole of the UK through levelling up our regions, ensuring that they have the investment and support they need to flourish as we leave the EU.

“I’m proud that our £10m investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund is supporting a new state-of-the-art Energy Skills Centre at East Coast College. The centre will enable local people to access the technical skills and training to compete and succeed in the globally competitive energy sector.”

Stuart Rimmer CEO East Coast College:

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be opening our new Energy Skills Centre, which alongside our Offshore Wind Skills Centre demonstrates our commitment to providing this much needed provision which would not be possible with the support and finance provided from of our key partners.“

The Energy Skills Centre’s grand opening will take place on 12th November, alongside a new central branded provision from East Coast College which will offer a wide range of B2B training opportunities to meet the needs of the region’s businesses.