East Riding College is today launching a £2.8m project to support local businesses to take advantage of massive predicted growth in the energy industry.
The College’s Energy Technology Centre (ETC), which is jointly funded by a grant from the European Regional Development Fund, will provide facilities for small to medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate support services and links to training across a range of business, energy and environmental services.
Companies which are not large enough to have their own in-house expertise will be able to draw on fully or part-funded consultancy services in areas such as tendering, sustainability and equality and diversity, all of which are crucial to winning business from major corporations.
The ETC will act as a hub for information sharing, providing a venue for seminars and exhibitions relevant to the energy sector, and allowing SMEs to promote themselves to others through knowledge sharing events.
It will also run events which will enable businesses in the energy sector and its direct supply chain to upskill their workforce and stay ahead of competitors.
ETC manager Richard Webster said: “There is massive growth predicted for the energy industry in the Humber region over the next decade and beyond, and it is essential that local employers are in a position to benefit.
“The focus has rightly been on the major developments which will be the catalyst for this growth, such as the £160m investment by Siemens, but we now need to turn our attention to the opportunities in the supply chain.”
He added: “Realistically, most of the growth in this region will be seen in the supply chain, with the large-scale projects causing a ripple effect which well-placed small-to-medium sized enterprises will be able to take advantage of.
“Our aim is to support those companies to position themselves so that they too can grow as a result of the energy sector and that the East Riding and wider Humber region can feel the associated boost in terms of jobs and prosperity.”
The ETC building will be an element of East Riding College’s new Beverley campus, which will form part of the Flemingate redevelopment project and which is planned for a September 2015 opening.
It will offer a unique conference and business location in Beverley, with facilities including an 80-seat conference facility and self-contained office space.
A showcase of energy technology solutions will also be available to provide knowledge transfer for companies seeking to improve energy efficiencies in the workplace.
In the meantime, the ETC project will be offering its range of services from the College’s existing sites in Beverley, Bridlington, Carnaby and Hull, with teams going out to businesses across the region.
A launch event is to be held at the Tickton Grange Hotel, near Beverley, on Thursday, June 19, at 10.30am, featuring a range of speakers from the energy sector.
The event will be a chance for SMEs in the region to find out how they can benefit from opportunities associated with the growth in the sector and to network with others who have the same objectives.
East Riding College Principal Derek Branton said: “One of our important roles as a college is to be a leader in the economic development of our area by providing the skills and business support needed for a strong and prosperous regional economy.
“The Energy Technology Centre will enable the College to provide the necessary support and expertise which will be crucial to enabling SMEs to benefit from the single most important new industrial sector in the region for several decades.”
Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart said: “It’s great news that the new Energy Technology Centre at East Riding College has received the go-ahead. The Centre will be a valuable platform to build expertise in the energy sector at a time when this is poised to become a major growth industry across Hull and the East Riding.
“Following on last month’s announcement of the £310 million investment by Siemens and Associated British Ports at Green Port Hull and in Paull, this is further evidence that our area is gearing up to make the most of the opportunity to build skills and jobs.”
Creating an “energy estuary” around the Humber is a key focus for the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), an organisation which represents businesses and local government and which is playing a key role in ensuring economic growth in the region.
LEP Chairman Lord Haskins said: “Congratulations to East Riding College on the opening of the Energy Technology Centre.
“We welcome this investment in the Humber which can support businesses that are based here and those which may invest in the region, with their business growth needs and skills support for their workforce.”
Businesses which would like to attend the ETC launch event can register at www.energytech.org.uk/events