PM heralds opening of UK’s first FE college-based biomass training site
8 May 2018
Prime minister Theresa May performed the official opening for the first further education college-based biomass training facility in the United Kingdom.
The Energy Centre at Berkshire College of Agriculture (BCA), Maidenhead has been set up by a partnership that includes BCA, biomass pioneer LC Energy and Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
Commenting at the ceremony the prime minister 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.”
The training facility has been set up to address the skills demand that will develop from the country’s plans to increase the proportion of its renewable energy use to a target of 15% by 2020.
It’s vital that young people have the education and skills to take on the jobs needed for the future
Prime minister Theresa May
Students aged 16-19 will now be able to achieve accredited technical qualifications in renewable energy. The first 12, who began their course shortly before the formal opening, will have access to two biomass boilers and engine rooms provided on the site.
Mark Lebus, managing director of LC Energy, remarked: “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.”
At present, the UK’s 12% target for the proportion of heat generated from renewable sources is only half way towards achievement and a smaller shortfall in the 30% target for the generation of electricity from renewables.
May added that, through using the new energy centre, students would receive “the training and opportunity to make a real difference to help protect our planet for future generations”.
Photo (l-r): Thames Valley Berkshire LEP’s CEO Tim Smith, BCA principal Gillian May, Theresa May, LC Energy managing director Mark Lebus