Wednesday, 23 February 2011

THOUSANDS of people in East Yorkshire will be trained to work on wind turbines at the first centre of its kind in the UK

THOUSANDS of people in East Yorkshire will be trained to work on wind turbines at the first centre of its kind in the UK.

The Mail can reveal around 3,000 people a year are expected to be trained in the construction and maintenance of wind turbines at a purpose-built centre in Hull.

The centre will include a 20 metre-high tower to enable learners to get up to speed with climbing huge turbines, offering practical experience for a range of renewables jobs.

This will be complemented by a 25 metre-high training tower on the city's Albert Dock, where prospective employees can also practice working at heights and in confined spaces.

There are also plans to site a turbine tower on the quay side.

Training will be available to anyone looking for a new career, ranging from school and college-leavers to former caravan workers made redundant.

The new training centre is the first tangible proof of the Humber becoming a "super cluster" for the UK's booming renewables industry.

It comes after global energy giant Siemens announced plans to build a huge turbine manufacturing factory in Hull, which is expected to create around 10,000 jobs.

The training centre will open in June and will help provide the workforce for Siemens and other companies.

It is a partnership between Humberside Offshore Training Association (HOTA) and Total Access .

Linda Ellis, general manager at HOTA, said: "This is going to be a unique facility for the wind power industry – not just unique to the region, but to the rest of the country."

The company has invested around £250,000 in the training centre, in Malmo Road, east Hull.

It currently trains around 5,000 people a year in offshore work, such as that on oil rigs.

HOTA expects to train around 3,000 people specifically for the renewable sector every year.

Andrew Dack, managing director of Total Access (UK) Ltd, said: "We are in a strong position to deliver the needs of the renewable energy market from the UK's only purpose-built facility that serves both the marine and land based renewable energy training requirements."

News of the new facility comes just weeks after Siemens announced Hull's Alexandra Dock as the preferred location for its turbine factory.

Mike Sellers, deputy port manager at Associated British Ports (ABP), which owns the dock, said: "This certainly complements the message that the Humber is the ideal location for a renewables super cluster.

"We have always said that Hull and the Humber is the ideal location for firms looking to cash in on the renewables sector.

"Now there is a definite buzz around the place and a positive feel that we can really do this."

HOTA revealed its proposals to the Mail yesterday at a major renewables event at the University of Hull.

The event -Renewing the Humber – was set up to help businesses and investors understand the opportunities in the region's renewables sector and how they could benefit from them.

HOTA had already been in the process of expansion onto a property next to its existing training centre in Malmo Road, where it planned to transfer and expand some of its existing facilities.

The Mail previously reported how Endeavour School, on Beverley Road, could be closed and turned into another training centre for the renewables industry.

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