Work starts on £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub

Construction of Redcar and Cleveland College’s Clean Energy Education Hub is underway in a move to help prepare people for future green jobs coming to the Tees Valley.

First spades in the ground on the site on Corporation Road mark the development of the £3.2m facility which will deliver the skills needed by employers in the clean energy and renewable sector, and also drive the ambitions of young people across the borough.

CEEH June 22

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “We have been bowled over by the level of support this initiative has generated, both across the region and nationally.”

Primarily funded by the Town Deal Fund, the hub will provide a practical learning environment that simulates real workspaces to service domestic and industrial markets.

The college is working with the Redcar Town Deal Board, Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, the combined authority and industry leaders to ensure the hub is positioned to support the area’s emerging green economy.

Jason said: “Teesside and the Tees Valley is lining itself up to be a green cluster for global businesses leading the way in greener, cleaner ways of living and working. By working with leaders in the clean and renewable energy industry we will be able to ensure a training provision that responds to the real demands of the sector, not just in the short term but also in five, 10, 15 years’ time.”

Contractor Britcon has been appointed to deliver the project, a 1000 square metre new build which will link to the college’s existing building with its own access route. Doors are due to open to its first learners in January 2023.

With additional investment from the Education Training Collective and the Skills Development Fund, the hub will deliver training to school leavers and adult learners, as well as offering higher education, commercial, professional, and bespoke employer-led programmes.

The project has been further boosted by the commitment of a donation from bp to bring community engagement and further development to the hub, with a focus on raising awareness of the opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children. The company has announced plans for three projects in the region: HyGreen Teesside, which will utilise green hydrogen, H2Teesside, which will produce blue hydrogen, and first-of-a-kind gas-fired power and carbon capture project NZT Power.

Masudur Rahman, bp’s social performance manager in the UK, said: “It’s great to see work starting on the Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar and Cleveland College. We’re proud to support their efforts to inspire young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and help equip them with the skills to pursue careers in the low carbon industry. Supporting the next generation energy innovators is an important part of our wider backing of Teesside helping to create a net zero future and nurturing the talent we will need to help get us there.”

Darren Winter is chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, he said: “The Town Deal aims to make a positive difference to the lives of people in Redcar and the surrounding area. The hub is great news for all young people in the borough which is specially designed to equip them with the relevant skills needed in jobs now and in the future, especially in sectors in emerging technologies.”

Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, added: “The hub will provide a fantastic opportunity for residents to gain the skills which will lead to a well-paid and successful career in the industries of the future. Our borough will be at the heart of a green energy revolution, and we want all our residents to benefit from this.”

Describing Teesside as being “at the epicentre of the UK’s clean industrial future”, Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar, said: “With everything from new hydrogen technology to the manufacturing of wind farm blades coming to Teesside, renewable energy is perhaps the most crucial link in that chain.

“What is more crucial still is that it is Teessiders who benefit from the high-quality, well-paid jobs being created in this exciting new sector. And so, I not only welcome, but applaud the creation of Redcar and Cleveland College’s £3.2m Clean Energy Education Hub.

“By providing Teessiders with the training programmes our new industry needs, we’re ensuring local people will become the primary beneficiaries of the UK’s green industrial revolution.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “I’m delighted to see spades in the ground on this exciting project. Schemes like these are helping to give current and future generations the best possible chance to take advantage of the opportunities we’re creating within the safer, cleaner and healthier industries of tomorrow.

“With the government and major global companies such as bp investing in Teesside, this centre will help support the sectors of the future that are central to my plan for jobs, a plan that is already creating good-quality, well-paid jobs for local workers.

“This is the latest in a long list of initiatives boosting our region’s clean energy credentials, building on our work to become the UK’s premier location for offshore wind and supporting projects like Net Zero Teesside which is developing the UK’s first decarbonised industrial cluster. Together these will supercharge plans for Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool to become a national powerhouse for clean energy.”

Nick Shepherd, managing director of Britcon, added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland College and all stakeholders to deliver this exciting green energy training building.

“We have a strong delivery pedigree within the North-east and our strategy is always to maximise the use of local suppliers and support employment and training opportunities. This project provides another fantastic opportunity to leave a real local legacy whilst supporting the important development of the clean energy sector.”

New Chief Executive to take the helm of thriving Teesside college group

There are so many reasons why Grant Glendinning is looking forward to taking the lead at the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

An established leader in the sector, he has watched with interest not only the growth and achievement of the college group, which comprises Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training Group, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and the Skills Academy, but also the transformation of the Tees Valley’s industrial landscape.

Now appointed to be chief executive and group principal, Grant said: “This is a high performing college group situated in an area with so much future potential. I can’t wait to get started.”

Etc. Grant Glendinning

Grant, who is the current executive principal for NCG North, will join Etc. after the summer, taking the reins from Phil Cook who has led the college group since 2013.

Since his arrival, Phil has overseen the transformation of the college, initially Stockton Riverside College and Bede Sixth Form College, then NETA and more recently Redcar and Cleveland College.

Phil said of his time at Etc.: “I believe passionately in high quality local colleges for local people and I think that’s what we’ve delivered. I’ve been fortunate to have worked with so many amazing people, who are totally committed to their students and their local communities, and it’s been a privilege to do so, and something that I will cherish. However, it’s now time for me to move on, to new challenges, and I do so with the assurance that we have a committed and incredibly able set of governors, who I believe have made an excellent appointment in Grant. I know that Etc.’s journey is far from over and that there is much more to come.”

Looking forward to continuing that journey, Grant, who is originally from Hartlepool, said the transformational nature of the area was part of the role’s appeal.

Plus, having left the area as a teen for university and going on to a career in teaching, leadership and management working in Eastern Europe, London and the North-west, he said, for him, this feels like a return home.

Still with family in Billingham and Hartlepool, he said: “Growing up in Teesside, it was a very different place, it felt like industry had had its day and that continued for decades. To see the repurposing of the Tees Valley with strong economic and political leadership is fantastic. It is a really transformative story.”

While Grant describes his return to Teesside as “a happy coincidence”, he said the thought of now being able to work in the area and add value and impact was a real draw.

Driven by a passion for further education and helping get young people and adults into meaningful jobs, he said: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the Tees Valley, not only when you think about Teesworks and the cradle of clean energy the area might become, but also the future vision for town centres in Stockton, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Darlington and Hartlepool, the opportunities for global inward investment that the freeport is going to bring.

“We could be looking at something akin to a boomtown for Teesside. What a fantastic time to join Etc. and be a part of all that.”

Mark White OBE DL, Chair at Etc., said: “As you would expect, recruiting a new chief executive and group principal for our group was always going to be a robust and rigorous process. Phil Cook has had such significant impact – for which the board is incredibly grateful – and his leadership has transformed this group to such an extent that we needed someone with the skillset and background to be able to pick up the baton and run with it.

“I am delighted that Grant has been appointed to the role and I know that the board is very much looking forward to working with him when he joins.”

Chair Mark White announces his retirement from the Etc. Board

Community champion Mark White OBE DL has proven himself a true ambassador for education in Teesside.

But now, after 27 years on the governing boards of the colleges that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.), he has announced his retirement from his role as Etc. chairman of the board.

With a fierce passion for the group, its staff, students and partners, it’s a move, he admits, will be an emotional one, however, he said: “Nothing lasts forever, and people need to know when it’s the right time to step back. I am proud of what has been achieved by the group in Thornaby, Billingham, Stockton and Redcar.

“I will miss it more than I could possibly imagine but I’m confident I am leaving the group in a good place, with a fabulous governing board and great leaders and staff.”

A well-known face across the Tees Valley and beyond, Mark has undertaken countless governance and committee roles, not just with the college group but also in primary schools, with North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, and nationally with the Association of Colleges’ Charitable Trust and AoC Sport, to name but a few.

Spending his professional career at Teesside University, up until his retirement as Head of the Vice Chancellor’s Office and Secretary to the Board of Governors in 2016, he entered the world of further education when he took a governance role at Billingham’s Bede Sixth Form College in 1995.

Mark said: “Not knowing much about college governance or colleges in general at that stage, it was a decision that changed my life. Bede triggered something in me, I have taken on a lot since then.”

Today the 64-year-old is also a Deputy Lieutenant of County Durham, Chair of the Thornaby Town Deal Board and Chair of Stockton Strategic Education Board, all of which he is extremely proud.

While stepping down from the Etc. will no doubt offer the chance to enjoy some of the nice things in life, such as more time spent seeing live theatre and music, or he suggests maybe even a holiday, Mark added: “For reasons I can’t explain I have always wanted and continue to want to make a contribution.”

Through the Etc., which incorporates Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, he has been well positioned to do just that.

“All we do is so that young people and adults can have the best life chances, so communities can prosper and so employers can find staff that will help their businesses and the local economy to grow and flourish,” said Mark, who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List with an OBE in 2016.

Over the last 27 years he has played a part in the growth of the group, seeing the merger of Bede with Stockton Riverside College in 2008, resulting in an impressive new build launched in 2009, a merger with Stockton-based engineering specialist NETA Training in 2015, the development of The Skills Academy in Billingham, the same year, and most recently the completion of a successful merger with Redcar and Cleveland College in 2018.

Mark said: “We have never set out to grow for the sake of growing. We have always made decisions to serve our community and now Etc. has a reputation for partnerships that are built on mutual respect.”

Describing himself as a “glass half full person”, a quality that proves a real asset when it comes to motivating and inspiring others, Mark said: “Hope, ambition, aspiration and achievement, I think they are my favourite four words. I believe everyone should have hope, to be ambitious and have aspiration. I believe everyone is capable of achievement, and that is what colleges are for.”

College group is first in the Tees Valley to achieve carbon neutrality

Green efforts have proven top class for the colleges that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

Now, after working hard to offset its carbon footprint, the group has achieved certified “carbon neutrality” – the first college in the Tees Valley to achieve this.

Since receiving the Investors in the Environment Silver Standard in July 2021, staff and students across the group have continued to step up their efforts.

Group-wide measures such as the procurement of electricity from 100% green sources to a dramatic reduction in wastepaper, are all having a positive impact.

Phil Hastie

Phil Hastie, group executive director – planning and infrastructure at the Etc. said: “Achieving carbon neutral status is just another step on our green journey and is something to be truly celebrated, however what is more important to recognise is the work that has gone into getting us to this point and the work that will continue going forward.”

Through work with Carbon Neutral Britain, the UK’s Carbon Offsetting Initiative which provides support to British organisations making an impact on climate change, the group has provided financial support to projects in the renewables sector, offsetting its carbon footprint of 696tCO2e, and as a result achieving certified carbon neutral status for the last academic year.

The Etc., which comprises Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College and The Skills Academy, acknowledges it has a continued responsibility to improve sustainability and has committed to recognising and seeking to reduce the impact it has on the environment, and to enable staff and students to do the same.

The group established a Green Initiatives Group (GIG), made up of more than 30 volunteers from across the colleges, to create focused action plans on areas such as staff and student engagement, waste energy, procurement and travel.

A recently introduced Environment Award at the group’s annual staff awards, is also putting a spotlight on those departments making the most significant impact on the environment in the last academic year.

Phil said: “Through engaging staff and students in understanding and improving the impact we have on the environment as a group of colleges and as individuals, we are seeing vast improvements in the ways we are working, our paper and utility usage, our travel to and from sites, even down to the promotional items we give out at our open events – so getting to this point is the result of a real group effort.”

The college group is now looking to continue along the green path it has paved out, with future plans including a carshare programme for staff, litter picks for staff and students in addition to a commitment to a 2% annual reduction in resource use which, along with further monitoring and reporting of activities, will ultimately lead to the group securing the Investors in the Environment Green award.

Mark White, chair of the Etc. governing board said: “We all have a role to play in helping to protect the future of our planet, that is why the sustainability agenda is a priority to us as a college group. To now be among those leading the way in our efforts is an incredible achievement and testament not just to the group but to every individual who is playing their part. But the work does not stop there, there is much more to be done and we look forward to continuing our green journey.”

Steve Frampton, FE/HE climate commissioner and chair of AoC Services Board, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, particularly coming ahead of the Department for Education’s Climate Change and Sustainability Strategy published this week. The result of hard work and commitment by everyone involved, it shows what can be achieved and should be an inspiration to others.”

Redcar and Cleveland College unveils plans for Clean Energy Education Hub

Redcar and Cleveland College has unveiled exciting plans for the development of its Clean Energy Education Hub.

The hub will be funded primarily by a £2.41m capital injection from the Town Deal Fund, a programme announced by the government supporting economic growth in towns across England, along with additional investment from the Education Training Collective.

Further financial support from the Skills Development Fund will provide a catalyst for the centre to progress its credentials and expertise, supporting the green revolution across the Tees Valley.

And, described by the Minister for Levelling Up, Neil O’Brien, as playing a “crucial role supporting the Tees Valley’s wider green economy”, the facility is on track for spades in the ground by early May.

Redcar and Cleveland College principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “These are exciting times for our region. The Tees Valley is at the forefront of developments in the clean and renewable energy sector.

“Now we want to make sure that the people who live here have the skills, knowledge and expertise to have the best possible chance of directly benefitting from the jobs being created on our doorstep.”

The hub has been further boosted by a donation from bp. It will support the development of the hub and community engagement to raise awareness of opportunities within the clean energy sector among local school children.

Louise Kingham CBE, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president of Europe, said: “The Clean Energy Education Hub will help equip young people from across Teesside with the skills they need to develop careers in a range of industries that will lead the energy transition. Supporting the programme through our partnership with Redcar and Cleveland College is another sign of our commitment to the local economy and community. With its tightly-clustered heavy industry and proud industrial heritage, Teesside is the perfect place to showcase net zero and the talent we will need to get us there.”

Worth a total investment of almost £3.2m, the Clean Energy Education Hub will deliver training for careers in the clean and renewable energy industry.

Working in collaboration with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and industry leading employers, such as RWE Sofia Windfarms and Northern Gas Networks, the college is ensuring the facility is built to meet real industry skill demands.

College principal Jason added: “Behavioural competence and soft skills are what employers seek in addition to formal qualifications. The Clean Energy Education Hub will provide a skills ready workforce for the future.”

Welcoming the plans, Councillor Mary Lanigan, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council said: “There is a huge opportunity for Redcar and Cleveland to be at the centre of the green energy industry in the future. The development of Teesworks brings the promise of thousands of high quality and well-paid jobs and it is vital that our residents are well prepared to take these opportunities. The Clean Energy Education Hub will provide high class training in the industries of the future and will mean young people in Redcar and Cleveland can receive the kind of training in their own borough which will thoroughly prepare them to move into work.

“We look forward to working with Redcar and Cleveland College to make the Clean Energy Education Hub a huge success.”

In January, a pre-launch event which outlined the strategic plans for the hub, held at Redcar and Cleveland College, saw guest speakers including bp’s senior vice president for Europe and head of country, UK, Louise Kingham CBE, Northern Gas Networks’ HR director Lindsey Filer, RWE Sofia Windfarm’s supply chain manager, Graham Wright, alongside, Mary Lanigan, sharing their views on the vast opportunities ahead for both employers and the local community.

The Clean Energy Education Hub will specialise in clean energy and renewable industry training for both domestic and industrial markets. Delivering training to school leavers, apprentices and adult learners, the hub’s offer will include higher education, commercial and professional courses, and will also respond to employers needs through bespoke employer-led programmes.

Jason said: “Linked to the college building, on Corporation Road, with its own access route and identity, the hub will be approximately 1000 square metres and will provide a practical learning environment which simulates real workspaces to service the domestic and industrial markets. Practising what we preach, the facility will be powered by solar panels and air source heat pump technology.”

Darren Winter, chair of the Redcar Town Deal Board, said of the project: “On behalf of the Town Deal Board, I am delighted funds from the Town Deal are supporting the build of the Clean Energy Education Hub and helping young people in their careers so quickly with a planned opening in early 2023.”

Minister for Levelling Up Neil O’Brien said: “It’s fantastic to see plans unveiled for Redcar and Cleveland College Clean Energy Education Hub.

“Supported by £2.41 million from the Government’s Town Fund, the hub will offer training and educational opportunities for local people in the clean energy sector.

“This will play a crucial role supporting Tees Valley’s wider green economy, which boasts one of the country’s first Freeports, leading the charge in the low carbon sector.”

College group’s award-winning healthy habits reap their own reward

From mindfulness sessions to getting your six to eight glasses of water a day, when it comes to healthy habits, staff at the Education Training Collective (Etc.) are hitting the mark.

The team’s efforts have been recognised with the Better Health at Work Continuing Excellence Award.

Laura Moon

A step up from the Gold they received last year, human resources advisor, Laura Moon, said: “This is fantastic recognition of the work that has been put in, from staff across the group, to help promote healthy habits and wellbeing not just in the workplace but also in the wider community.”

For the college group, which incorporates Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training, Redcar and Cleveland College, Stockton Riverside College, The Skills Academy and Tees Valley Catering, it has meant a whole host of activities aimed at encouraging people to make small healthy changes.

“As a large employer in the Tees Valley, encouraging the health and wellbeing of our staff, is built in to our values and strategies,” said Laura.

Aiming to reach beyond the workplace, she added: “By raising awareness and promoting healthy habits, we hope to help share healthy messages not just with our staff but for these also to extend to family and friends.”

The group has also acted as mentor to a local secondary school in the early stages of the process.

The Better Health at Work Award recognises the efforts of employers in the North-east and Cumbria, addressing health issues within the workplace. There are five levels available, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Continuing Excellence and Maintaining Excellence. Those that reach the highest level can go on to achieve Ambassador Status.

Over the last 12 months Etc. staff have come up with innovative solutions to encourage healthy lifestyles among its employees including hydration challenges, the launch of a menopause support group, webinars, resilience training and yoga sessions.

Co-ordinated by the human resources team, ideas are gathered through the staff welfare group, reaching into every level of the business. Staff members also volunteer as health advocates, tasked with helping to spread the word.

Laura said: “Recently we tried our first No Meetings Week, a suggestion that came from our senior management team. During that week we ran a series of talks and workshops including prostate cancer and breast cancer awareness, mindfulness sessions and pension webinars to target financial wellbeing.”

Liz Elwell, Etc.’s group head of human resources said: “The health and wellbeing of our staff is a priority for us here at the Education Training Collective, never more so than during these challenging times.

“We are constantly looking for ways to encourage and promote healthy lifestyles and support mental wellbeing, so to have our efforts recognised is an incredible achievement.

“For us it is not just about creating a happier, healthier workforce and creating a positive working environment, but also recognising the important part our colleges have to play in promoting health and wellbeing and raising awareness in our communities.”

Laura Moon

Elf efforts raise Cash for Kids

Santa’s little helpers have been helping bring gifts to children who might not have otherwise received gifts under the tree this Christmas.

Staff at Stockton Riverside College, Bede Sixth Form, NETA Training and The Skills Academy, dressed as elves as part of their annual Elf Yourself celebrations, collecting toys and gifts for Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas.

“Elf Yourself is a popular event at Stockton Riverside College,” said apprenticeship compliance manager and chair of the staff association, Nikki Thurston. “This year we invited colleagues from our sister colleges to get involved.”

With some staff currently working from home, she said: “We didn’t have quite the number of elves that we usually have on site, but staff were incredibly generous and we collected more gifts than ever.”

The team from health, childcare, education, creative and digital made cash donations, raising £200, and staff headed out to stock up on Christmas gifts.

The department’s programme area leader, Kelly Johnson, said: “I think that we are all aware that during lockdowns money has been tight for a lot of families. We wanted to buy toys and gifts to help people in the local community. It is important that we recognise how fortunate we are.”

Staff members also made donations directly to the charity online.

Handing over the goodies to Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas driver George Headley, Nikki said: “Staff generously donated gifts of all shapes and sizes, and there was more for the older children this year too. People often just think about donating gifts for the under 10s, but there were lots of gifts for the teenagers as well.”

Cash for Kids’ Aimee Littlefair said: “The support we receive every year is overwhelming and we couldn’t complete our mission without the support of the local community. We can’t thank the colleges enough for joining our Mission and helping make Christmas magical for thousands of local children living in the North East.”