Theresa May MP has officially opened The Energy Centre at Berkshire College of Agriculture, Maidenhead — the UK’s first renewable energy training facility at a Further Education college.
The facility — pioneered by biomass company LC Energy in partnership with Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA) and Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership — is an important first step in addressing the significant skills shortage in the renewable energy sector in the UK. The opening of The Energy Centre at BCA will lead to courses which for the first time will enable students aged between 16 and 19 to gain accredited technical qualifications in renewable energy, marking a key development in delivering the skills required by employers to help the UK meet its renewable energy targets.
The UK has been allocated a target to increase the proportion of its renewable energy use to 15% by 2020. There is currently a shortfall of 50% in the 12% target for the generation of heat from renewable sources and a shortfall of 18% in the 30% target for the generation of electricity from renewables.
LC Energy firmly believes that extending access to approved and accredited technical education and skills training in renewable energy is key to addressing this, and to reducing the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. As such, the company has installed the first training biomass boiler at a UK College of Further Education to facilitate accredited training for the next generation of heating and plumbing engineers.
Theresa May MP said: “I was very pleased to go back to Berkshire College of Agriculture to hear of the innovative work the college is doing and to open the new energy centre. It’s vital that young people have the education and skills to take on the jobs needed for the future. So I was pleased to be able to meet with students who, through using the new energy centre, will be given the training and opportunity to make a real difference to help protect our planet for future generations.”
Mark Lebus, Managing Director of LC Energy, added: “We are delighted to have collaborated with BCA and the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to deliver the UK’s first biomass training facility at a Further Education college.”
“The renewable energy sector offers sustainable employment but currently lacks accredited training and skills. By widening access to training we can eliminate the skills shortage and play our part in creating a Britain fit for the future — outlined in the Government’s recent Industrial Strategy.”