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An apprentice at work in the milling and boring department. Economic Secretary to the Treasury Chloe Smith visiting AKD Engineering a Lowestoft based engineering and manufacturing company working in offshore oil and gas, renewable energy and nuclear power. Picture: James Bass
By BEN WOODS
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Efforts to equip Waveney’s workforce for the demands of the burgeoning offshore wind industry are set to receive a major boost as part of a £1.7m public and private sector initiative.
Under the pioneering project, Waveney District Council will receive more than £340,000 in European funding to help identify the training and skills that local people will require to work in growing industry.
The Building European Environmental Maritime Skills (BEEMS) project is being led by Southampton City Council and will be delivered over two years by a UK-French partnership of regional and local authorities, industry associations, educational institutions and training providers.
Waveney is one of four UK councils involved and is the only local authority in an East of England partnership which includes Lowestoft College, Marine East and the East of England Energy Group (EEEGr).
BEEMS will ensure that local people get the necessary skills they need to work in the rapidly expanding industry, which is projected to create around 47,200 new jobs in the UK in sectors such as offshore wind farm development.
Bruce Provan, Waveney’s cabinet member for leisure, tourism and economic development, said: “Working with partners from the Solent region and northern France, this project will really help to ensure that Waveney creates a workforce with the skills to place us at the forefront of the offshore wind industry.
“The funding will also help local small to medium businesses to play a part in the supply chain and I am delighted that the hard work which went in to this project is paying off.”
Southampton City Council and its partners raised £830,955 which has been match funded by the EU through its Interreg IVA France (Channel) England programme. The funding was agreed at a summit of French and UK local authorities hosted by Suffolk County Council at University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich.
Judy Terry, the county council’s cabinet member for economic development, said: “The growth of the renewable energy industry in Suffolk means there are – and will be – a great number of apprenticeship and job opportunities for local people.... We need to make sure people have the right skills.”