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£2.25M cash boost to train ‘green army’ of tradespeople to help tackle climate crisis

The North East could become the training ground for a ‘green army’ of tradespeople with the skills and expertise to help tackle the climate crisis – thanks to a local government cash boost of £2.25 million.

New College Durham is set to lead this workforce revolution after it was awarded the money to run Skills Bootcamps for Green Skills across the region. The funding is split between the North of Tyne Combined Authority (£1.2m), headed by Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll, and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (£1.05m).

Skills Bootcamps offer bespoke training solutions to bridge existing skills gaps within high-demand sectors by providing local people with the technical training needed to secure employment within high-demand/growth sectors.

As the Government aims to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions to zero by 2050, and with the knowledge that the UK is drastically short of the skills needed to build a low-carbon economy, new ‘recruits’ to the boot camps will receive bespoke technical training in fast-growing green industries such as electric vehicle maintenance and housing retrofitting.

Other boot camps focus on arboriculture, gas, rail engineering, as well as heat pump installation and maintenance, among other skillsets.

Andy Broadbent, Principal and Chief Executive at New College Durham, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded the funding to run the Skills Bootcamps. These programmes will respond to the huge changes in the housing, building and automotive sectors and give employers the opportunity to help to close emerging skills gaps by upskilling their employees through New College Durham. In addition, they will provide local people with the training required to secure employment within these industries.”

Elected Metro Mayor for the North of Tyne, Jamie Driscoll, said: “The climate crisis is no longer a thing of the future. It’s here. It’s now. And we urgently need the skills to tackle it. We need the builders who can retrofit our homes, the mechanics who can fix our electric vehicles, and more.

“That’s why these green skills ‘boot camps’ are so important. So we have the right people with the right skills in the right industries to reduce our carbon emissions and create a better, safer future.”

Michelle Rainbow, Skills Director at the North East LEP, said: “We worked with the North East and Yorkshire Net Zero Hub to commission a study into the number and type of skilled jobs that will be needed in the North East, as we work to reach the UK’s net zero targets.

“The findings are now informing the range of skills boot camps which will be rolled out in our region and these skills boot camps delivered by New College Durham form a core part of the new training offer. They’ll upskill people in our region, allowing them to take advantage of these new jobs in the green economy.”

Skills Bootcamps offer free*, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks. They give people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer. They are available for adults aged 19 or over who are either in work or recently unemployed and live in England. Some Skills Bootcamps have additional eligibility criteria. Find out more at www.newdur.ac.uk.

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