British Gas announces green skills centre

September 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

The great push for greener energy across the UK has uncovered a problem that could soon become a serious issue: there are not enough skilled workers to fill the job vacancies, leading companies to look overseas for their staff instead.

But all that is about to change with the opening of the Green Skills Training Centre in Tredegar, South Wales. The project has been launched by British Gas in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government, which is currently launching its £140 million regeneration programme. It is also supported by the local Jobcentre which is keen to see more jobs in the area.

The overall aim of the centre is to combat the serious lack of green skills in the industry. It’s no good having an energy revolution if there is no one available to fill the skills gap. The centre will be the first of its kind anywhere in the UK, and the aim is to train over 1,300 people a year. These positions will be filled by existing staff at British Gas, as well as a number of long-term unemployed in the Valleys area, which suffers from high levels of social deprivation.

The centre will focus on training staff in various green skills, including the installations of new renewably energy devices such as solar panels and wind turbines. The overall aim is that graduates of the scheme will then be able to provide 40,000 homes in South Wales with energy-efficiency makeovers, as is the Welsh Assembly’s ambition. This will lead to the largest low-carbon area in the whole of Europe.

Rhodri Morgan, the Welsh First Minister, said that the Low Carbon Zone had set “extremely ambitious targets”, with the plan being to “develop the highest concentration of renewable energy businesses in Europe”.

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