B&FC's Lancashire Energy HQ taking shape

Communities Minister, the Rt Hon Andrew Percy MP, previewed Blackpool and The Fylde College’s new £12m Lancashire Energy HQ during a visit to the Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone.

The Minister, whose portfolio includes responsibility for the Northern Powerhouse and Enterprise Zones, was visiting the Fylde Coast on Wednesday for an update on the status of Lancashire’s four economic incubator sites.

Following the visit, the Rt Hon Andrew Percy MP said:

“It was great to see Blackpool and The Fylde College's Lancashire Energy HQ campus today, opening thanks to millions of pounds of government investment, which will bring high-skilled jobs and businesses directly into the Northern Powerhouse.”

Bev Robinson, Principal and Chief Executive of B&FC, added:

“Lancashire Energy HQ represents significant investment in technical and professional education for the energy sector, which will support growth and jobs in the area.

“We welcome the fact that the Minister chose to come to Blackpool to see first-hand where we will be training highly-skilled workers to fill specialist roles across the energy industries.

“Lancashire Energy HQ will provide a cutting-edge education and training facility for Lancashire, delivering the full range of technical and professional education required by the industry, with a focus on the green and renewable sectors. 

“This in turn will assist the Government as it works to fulfil its commitments on climate change.”

The visit was also attended by senior politicians and officers from the three Fylde Coast councils, Lancashire County Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership and various government officials.

Lancashire Energy HQ is due to be completed in the autumn of 2017 and is the flagship development on Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone at Squires Gate Lane, Blackpool.

Lancashire Energy HQ moves a step closer

Blackpool and The Fylde College has appointed the main contractor for the construction of Lancashire Energy HQ. The move means the project moves a step closer following handover of the land last week.

Manchester-based Bardsley Construction will oversee construction of the £12million project, due to be completed in the autumn of 2017.

Lancashire Energy HQ will provide a cutting edge training centre, delivering the specialist technical and professional skills required by industry. The centre will focus on all types of energy production including offshore, renewable and low carbon, with courses and training aligned to future industry needs and labour requirements. It will be sited at the newly formed Blackpool Enterprise Zone and it is hoped the flagship development will be a catalyst for further investment in the area.

Daryl Platt, Executive Director of Commercial Development at Blackpool and The Fylde College, welcomed the announcement:

“The project represents significant investment in the region by the College and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, who are providing £6.2 million of Growth Deal funding towards the cost. I’m pleased that we are now in a position where work can begin imminently and we can continue to drive investment.

“We are looking forward to working with Bardsley Construction, who will bring a great deal of experience and technical expertise to the project.”

Ged Rooney, procurement director at Bardsley Construction, said:

“We are immensely proud to be involved in the delivery of the new Lancashire Energy HQ, and our experience over many years in the provision of new facilities for FE colleges throughout the North West, the Midlands and Yorkshire will be invaluable as we work closely with the College to deliver this complex project.

“The winning of this contract is further evidence of Bardsley continuing to benefit from its hard-earned reputation for working effectively with the public sector via partnerships with education bodies, local authorities, housing associations and health authorities.”

The College has now officially purchased the land within the Enterprise Zone from Blackpool Airport, after planning permission for Lancashire Energy HQ was granted last month.

Chris Formby, Blackpool Airport Manager said:

“We are delighted the land is being put to such good use to help create the next generation of expert energy engineers. We hope this new development will act as a catalyst for further investment within the new Enterprise Zone which will both sustain the airport into the future and drive further investment in the area to support local communities.”

Permission granted for flagship energy college

A dedicated training hub for the energy industry has moved a step nearer to reality after being given the go-ahead by planners.

Blackpool and The Fylde College has been advised of permission to build the Lancashire Energy HQ, which is set to become the flagship of the new Blackpool Enterprise Zone.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is providing £6.2m in Growth Deal funds towards the £12m cost of the project. 

Construction will start in summer 2016 and complete in the autumn of 2017, The college will become a centre of excellence for the county and beyond, delivering the higher technical skills, knowledge and training required by the energy sector.

Daryl Platt, Executive Director of Commercial Development at Blackpool and The Fylde College, said: “This is great news for Lancashire and the industries we will be supporting. Our aim is to provide a cutting-edge learning environment producing job-ready students who are highly skilled in advanced engineering, technology and energy solutions.

“The College already has a proven reputation in this field. Fleetwood Nautical Campus has more than 20 years of experience working with both on and off-shore energy sectors. The Lancashire Energy HQ will build on this, adding green and renewable energy technology to the provision offered."

Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, Director, Lancashire Skills Hub, said: “The Lancashire Energy HQ, at the heart of a Blackpool Enterprise Zone specialising in energy, is an important part of the LEP’s ambitious strategic programme to transform Lancashire’s economy, growing it by £3bn and creating tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade.

“Lancashire is already a world leader in the energy sector and there is huge potential for further development. The energy hub will train the skilled workforce this sector needs which, in turn, will encourage energy firms to invest in Blackpool and Lancashire as a whole.

“This is only one of a number of high quality training facilities the LEP is funding in the county which will boost the job prospects of thousands of local people and ensure we have the skilled workforce we need to fuel economic growth.”

College Welcomes Lancashire Energy HQ

Blackpool and The Fylde College has welcomed the announcement that £6.2million of Lancashire Growth Deal funding has been earmarked for the college to develop its existing energy sector provision and create an Energy HQ for Lancashire.

The Lancashire Growth Deal is a six year £364m package of new investment agreed between Government and the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP), which will realise the growth potential of the whole of Lancashire.

A key element of the Lancashire Growth Deal is enhancing Lancashire’s capacity to deliver the skills that the energy sector needs now and in the future. As part of the Deal, £6.2m will be allocated between 2015 and 2016 in developing Blackpool and The Fylde College’s facilities. In addition, a further £7.8m will be invested by the college, employers and other sources should all proposals come to fruition.

Daryl Platt, Executive Director of Commercial Development at Blackpool and The Fylde College said:

“This is great news for Lancashire. The Lancashire Energy HQ will support industry by supplying job ready students with the required skills, knowledge and training, and give the people of Lancashire and the Fylde coast the best opportunity to secure jobs in this field.”

Blackpool and The Fylde College already has a proven reputation in this field. Its Fleetwood Nautical Campus has over a decade of experience working with the onshore and offshore energy sectors and has recently installed a 17metre training tower for engineers to complete working at height courses. This, along with existing courses carried out in the environmental tank, means the campus now offers full training for engineers working on offshore wind farms.

The development will take a phased approach. In addition to Fleetwood’s existing offer, construction is underway on an Advanced Technology Centre which will deliver the advanced manufacturing and engineering skills required by the sector. A Grow Offshore event will also take place at the college which will advise SMEs about entering the supply chain for the offshore and onshore wind market.

B&FC has already begun to look at possible sites for a dedicated training facility along the M55 corridor to allow further penetration into Lancashire as well as across the Fylde Coast and enhance its current curriculum offer.

Edwin Booth, Chairman of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said:

“This investment, backed up with strong industry support, places Lancashire firmly at the heart of an emerging centre of expertise in developing a skilled workforce for the energy sector. As ever, it's great to see the county at the forefront of a high-tech, highly-skilled industry.”

On 16 June the Government launched a call for expressions of interest in developing a new generation of specialist National Colleges, with powers of curriculum development, awarding body status and powers to design and deliver higher level skills provision.

Daryl Platt continues:

“We have been working closely with partners to tender for a National Energy College to be sited in Blackpool. This new investment in an Energy HQ, backed by the LEP, is a clear signal that Lancashire has the potential to be central to any industry led proposals. We will continue to push for a National Energy College to be sited in Lancashire and we believe any additional regulatory functions should be accommodated within the national college.”

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Lancashire Energy HQ
Blackpool Airport Enterprise Zone
Squires Gate Lane

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