Northumberland and the drive to Net Zero – Putting green skills in the spotlight

Developing new technologies, delivering innovative solutions and changing how we work will all be crucial in helping the UK to reach its Net Zero emissions target by 2050.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) highlighted that around 200,000 additional workers will be needed to help the UK meet its Net Zero target and support an increase in renewable energy generation. This drive to Net Zero is creating new jobs and exciting career opportunities and developing a workforce with the right ‘green skills’ to support a green economy has never been more important.

So how is Northumberland developing a green skills base… and supporting the UK in reaching its Net Zero target?  

Northumberland is flying the flag for renewable energy innovation and development, and its infrastructure is supporting the transition to a greener economy.

Our region is key to the growth of the UK offshore wind industry. It is providing opportunities for battery manufacturing and electrification initiatives and has a long-standing heritage in subsea engineering and the maritime industry.

Across Northumberland, organisations and businesses are stepping up to the green skills challenge, through a range of exciting investments and initiatives.

For example, Port of Blyth is already home to Port Training Services’, a £1 million wind turbine training facility, and the new Welding and Fabrication Technical Training Centre was recently opened at the port to support skills development in advanced manufacturing, welding and fabrication.

Blyth also boasts the ORE Catapult facility, which offers unique research and engineering capabilities, and brings industry and academia together. This year, the facility was further enhanced with the opening of The Digital, Autonomous and Robotics Engineering (DARE) Centre – the first of its kind in the UK. The centre is helping developers, researchers and businesses to test, demonstrate and commercialise digital and robotic products and services for the offshore renewable energy market.

Looking ahead, work has started on the Energy Central Learning Hub, state-of-the-art learning facility which will deliver STEM education and sector-related vocational and work-based learning. This forms phase one of Energy Central Campus, with phase two comprising The Energy Central Institute in Blyth town centre which will focus on higher level skills, research and innovation in support of clean energy sector growth.

Northumberland College, the largest further education provider in Northumberland, is investing in a greener future too.

The new college campus, which will be built at Wansbeck Business Park, will be a ‘Gen Zero’ premises – designed to be as close as possible to carbon neutral in both construction and operation.

The campus will include an advanced manufacturing, engineering and construction skills centre and a green transport, automotive and logistics hub, which will help to support skills development in offshore wind and automotive electrification.

These are just some examples of how Northumberland is helping to close the green skills gap.

Hear new perspectives on green skills… and discuss the challenges and opportunities in our upcoming webinar  

Experts from across the public and private sectors will be examining Northumberland’s strengths in renewable energy, the challenges education and business are facing, and new initiatives and support in green skills, in a webinar on July 7 at 10am.

The ‘Growing Northumberland’s green economy – Unlocking the skills potential’ webinar is being run by Advance Northumberland as part of Net Zero Week™, the UK’s Net Zero awareness week, which runs from July 1 to July 7.

Taking place from 10am to 11am, the webinar will be hosted by Michael Harriott, Senior Business Growth and Investment Manager at Advance Northumberland, and will feature:

  • Sarah McMillian, Head of Economic Growth & Investment at Northumberland County Council
  • Jenny Hudson, Business Development Director of Instrumentation, Telemetry, IoT and AI Technology pioneer Transmission Dynamics
  • Alex Wardle, HSE & Sustainability Manager at global coatings expert AkzoNobel
  • Iain Nixon, Group Vice Principal, Partnerships & Commercial of education provider Education Partnership North East
  • Andrew Esson, Future Skills Lead at Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult
  • Emma Hutchinson, Skills Policy and Data Officer at the North of Tyne Combined Authority

These guest contributors will be focusing on topics such as which green skills are required by industry as we move to Net Zero, the role of education and training providers in the transition to a greener economy, and how Northumberland can grow its skills pool to address the skills gap.

The session, which is free to attend, will also look at how Northumberland residents can take advantage of opportunities in areas such as offshore wind, battery manufacturing, electrification, hydrogen and Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS), energy storage and energy efficiency.  

Do you want to be part of the conversation on green skills in Northumberland? 

Register for the webinar here: