Skills in renewable energy and retrofit are set to receive a major boost, thanks to a grant award from a Gloucestershire based fund to support business and economic development.
South Gloucestershire and Stroud (SGS) College along with Stroud District Council have secured £450,000 from the Gloucestershire Strategic Economic Development Fund to create the Berkeley Low Carbon Training Centre - a renewable energy and retrofit training centre at the colleges Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park, Berkeley.
Using the former Berkeley research laboratories, the investment will convert the redundant buildings into training rooms with training rigs, classrooms and workshops to teach the vital skills needed to support the country's challenge in meeting our net-zero carbon emission target. The investment also includes a digital training studio to provide blended learning programmes to the sector.
The investment will build on the historic role of Berkeley at the centre of the energy research establishment to create a regional training centre for the south west. This complements the existing low-carbon knowledge cluster on the science park, including the Active Building Centre and the SGS Berkeley University Technical College. The training will boost the skills of those working within the renewable energy sector including installers and specifiers for solar, heat pumps and retrofit. Courses will also be provided for those wishing to enter the sector and for both businesses and individuals who wish to understand how they can improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon emissions. The centre will also have a trailblazer role in developing training courses and materials that can be utilised by other training centres to expand capacity.
The centre will also support the curriculum of the University Technical College already on site.Both the UTC and SGS College will support low-carbon employers with the progression of graduates into jobs and apprenticeships.
Stroud District Council and SGS College are delighted to be jointly working on this project which is vital to support the net-zero challenge, both locally and nationally.
Sara-Jane Watkins, SGS College Principal commented:
Over the last 5 years, our work at the Berkeley campus has really been focussed on supporting innovation into green technologies and working with partners to understand how critical net zero is to the sustainability and survival of future generations. It is absolutely vital that this research is now translated into provision that enables installers and home designers to create sustainable energy sources both in new domestic homes and buildings as well as equipping contractors with the ability to retro-fit the existing housing stock to ensure we are all working towards energy efficient properties. We are delighted to be taking a regional lead on the development of provision and are thankful for the continued support of Stroud District Council.
Cllr Catherine Braun Leader of Stroud District Council said the centre is another step towards achieving the councils goal of helping the whole district become carbon neutral by 2030:
Skills to deliver energy efficient and low carbon properties have never been more essential and I am delighted that through our partnership with SGC College we will have a new centre in our district that will equip individuals and businesses throughout Gloucestershire and beyond to make the vital transition to a net zero future.