Hydrogen station will help fuel future talent

Redcar and Cleveland College in partnership with Hydrasun are taking the driving seat in the delivery of skills training to support the UK Government-funded Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub.

Plans unveiled today will see a modular hydrogen refuelling facility built at the college made possible with £286k hydrogen hub transport funding, secured from the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.

Neil Holmes David Whiles Ben Houchen Jason Faulkner

Expected to be the first college in the country to house a fully functioning modular hydrogen refuelling station, it will be used to train and upskill the future workforce, while raising awareness of how hydrogen can be used in transport.

Part of the Education Training Collective (Etc.), the college will also see the addition of three Mirai cars, in collaboration with Toyota, to demonstrate hydrogen as an alternate fuel in full use.

Executive principal, Jason Faulkner, said: “The government are backing a lot of green initiatives and whether through electrolysis, gasification, or coupled with carbon capture, it is clear hydrogen will be a fuel of the future.

“This facility will enable Redcar and Cleveland College, along with the Etc. and the wider Tees Valley colleges, to train people in the skills required to support the hydrogen developments.”

Sharing resources with fellow colleges, it will open-up potential training opportunities in hydrogen for transport technology to learners across the Tees Valley.

Redcar and Cleveland College has also invested in four mobile hydrogen dispensing unit components which can be loaned to other colleges to undertake practical activities, as well as using the Mirai cars for school visits and the education of motor vehicle students.

The industry-standard modular refuelling station is expected to be in place and fully operational on the Corporation Road site in Redcar by September. It is the latest development in the college’s effort to lead the way when it comes to meeting the demands of the region’s growing renewable and low carbon sector.

The modular station will be a core demonstration tool for hydrogen refuelling training courses delivered in partnership with Hydrasun.

Jason said: “This funding to expedite training and skills in relation to the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub masterplan is exactly what we need. Working in tandem with Hydrasun, with their expertise and knowledge, means we will have a skilled workforce ready for the future and the transition to new industries.

“The new technology operating hydrogen fuelled vehicles and their maintenance is going to require a different skillset to those of the combustion engine. We don’t want to be waiting until there are thousands of vehicles on the roads before starting that training.

“With colleges working together, it’s exciting and heartening to be able to bring these opportunities to Teesside and the wider Tees Valley and demonstrate, once again, the value of industry links and collaboration.”

Neil Holmes, Hydrasun’s regional manager for the North of England, said: “Hydrasun and Fuel Cell Systems are thrilled to play a pivotal role in the Tees Valley hydrogen transport hub skills initiative alongside our partners Redcar and Cleveland college.

“This partnership aligns perfectly with our commitment to support hydrogen refuelling infrastructure deployment and deliver skills pathways that enable the safe delivery of critical hydrogen projects within the Teesside region, and nationally.”

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We are leading the UK in developing the cleaner, greener industries of the future, including pioneering developments in major hydrogen projects.

“It’s essential that skills training is in place to ensure local people can benefit from the job opportunities being created, which is why projects such as this and fantastic local providers such as Redcar and Cleveland College have such an important role to play in developing these growing industries.”

Meet the 21 engineering scholars getting a head start with bp

The future could quite literally be in the hands of 21 students selected to take part in an industry-backed scholarship designed to help meet the skills needs ready for the transition to green energy.

Energy giant bp has teamed up with Redcar and Cleveland College to create the bespoke programme now welcoming its first batch of students, offering a potential leg-up on to the career ladder and a training allowance as they study.

“After spending the year planning, it’s hugely exciting to see the first students joining the programme,” said Sarah Ryan, bp’s social performance advisor for the UK. “Teesside has the potential to become a world-class, low carbon energy hub, but needs the talent and skills to do so.

“We are proud to continue investing in young people in Teesside and provide the training and qualifications they need to access high-quality low carbon jobs that will help sustain the region for decades to come.”

A flagship course for the college in its drive to prepare people for the green, renewable and low carbon industries of the future, the Teesside Clean Energy Technician scholarship is being delivered at Redcar and Cleveland College’s all new Clean Energy Education Hub.

Announced early this year, the unique opportunity that comes with a £100 weekly term-time bursary, and primarily aimed at school leavers aged 16 to 18, saw up to 100 hopeful applicants vying for a place.

Redcar and Cleveland College’s head of engineering, David Laycock, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for these young people who will not only develop the knowledge and skills of their future trade but will also have the backing of a global employer, and all of the potential advantages that this could bring.”

Anya, 17, is among those selected to take part. Keen to build a career in greener and cleaner energy, she said: “This is definitely the future and so for me the bp scholarship is ideal.”


Hearing about the programme at a Women in Engineering event at the college, she said: “It sounded ideal as it is a chance to learn in a practical hands-on environment and it will be on my CV that I have the experience of being a bp scholar.”

Looking forward to getting started, Luke, 17, of Hartlepool, said: “Clean energy is the future and definitely where I want to be in terms of my career. I am super excited by this opportunity.”

While Alfie, 16, from Saltburn, added: “I believe renewable energy is the way forward. I was over the moon when I found out I had a scholarship place, there is nothing that even comes close to this opportunity.”

By working alongside bp, the two-year scholarship has been designed to ensure students’ knowledge and skills meet the needs of developments in hydrogen, carbon capture and green industries.

This week scholarship students were introduced to the college with a dedicated launch event where they met representatives from bp and were officially handed their overalls and PPE.

The college’s head of engineering David said: “We recognise the part we have to play in equipping school leavers and adult learners with the skills to meet industry needs and maximise their chances of benefitting from the jobs of the future. To do this, having the backing of employers such as bp behind us is integral. We want to give all our students the chance to develop the qualities to help them build meaningful and skilled careers.”

College groups working to develop Retrofit skills across the region

Education Partnership North East (EPNE) and the Education Training Collective (Etc.) are set to lead a retrofit revolution which will deliver skills, jobs, and growth across the region.

Etc. EPNE Retrofit Partnership_1

The two college groups have been announced as official partners of the Retrofit Training Academy CIC to deliver leading retrofit qualifications and training to thousands of people in the North East and Tees Valley.

From their respective training academy hubs both groups will roll out a wide range of courses aimed at upskilling those already working in the trades, in addition to offering retraining opportunities for jobseekers, part of a drive to contribute to the training and development of 400,000 retrofitters to help meet the Government’s 2050 Net Zero targets.

As two of only nine hubs in the UK, and the only accredited training partners in the North of England, EPNE and the Etc. will work collaboratively to ensure the delivery of construction, renewable energy and retrofit skills, resulting in local jobs and growth.

After several years of visioning between Sunderland College and Sunderland City Council, the North East Academy CIC will be based at the upcoming £19m Housing and Innovation Construction and Skills Academy (HICSA) at Sheepfolds in Sunderland.

The cutting-edge training facility – part of the Riverside Sunderland development – will see people from Wearside trained in both modern methods and the technical skills needed to build smart or manufacturing homes, in addition to approved qualifications and the technical expertise and competence to retrofit older homes.

Ellen Thinnesen, Chief Executive of EPNE, said: “This exciting new strategic partnership will see Redcar and Cleveland College, part of the Education Training Collective, and EPNE’s Sunderland and Northumberland colleges come together to develop and deliver a regional response to the current skills shortages within the construction Industries.

“We have great things planned and I know our colleges are going to really make a real and meaningful difference for the region.”

The Etc. academy will be based at Redcar and Cleveland College’s new Clean Energy Education Hub, a cutting-edge specialist £3.2m training centre focussed on giving people the skills to meet the demands of Teesside’s growing renewable and low carbon sector.

Grant Glendinning, Chief Executive Officer and Group Principal of the Etc. said: “As educators we have a vital part to play in equipping people with the green skills to meet economy demands in readiness to help achieve Net Zero targets.

“The launch of our Clean Energy Education Hub at Redcar and Cleveland College, under the leadership of our Executive Principal Jason Faulkner, is testament to our ongoing commitment to better understand and respond to employer needs as they move towards cleaner and greener ways of operating.

“Our partnership with the Retrofit Academy CIC Hub feels like a natural next step, and we look forward to working with colleagues at EPNE to meet retrofit skills needed now and in the future across the region.”

Retrofitting existing residential properties is one of the biggest challenges when it comes to reducing carbon footprint, as heat leaks through windows, doors, and uninsulated walls, particularly in older properties.

The Retrofit Academy CIC works with local authorities and colleges across the UK to drive retrofit knowledge and skills, creating partnerships to train potential retrofit coordinators and assessors, enabling them to identify areas for improvement in a home such as the need for insulation, solar panels, and air source heat pumps.

Chief Executive Officer David Pierpoint said: “We are delighted to welcome Education Partnership North East (EPNE) and the Education Training Collective (Etc.) onto our network of official training partners.

“We are excited to be partnering with colleges that share our vision and passion for delivering green skills. The provision of essential retrofit skills in the North East region means we can collectively accelerate the workforce required to reach net zero targets.”


Award win for principal who helped transform college

Turning around the fortunes of Redcar and Cleveland College has proven something of a mercy mission for its principal Jason Faulkner.

Now, it seems the hard work and determination has paid off, as the college boss has picked up an education leadership award for his efforts.

Named winner of the UK Education Leadership Award at the Educate North Awards in Manchester last night, Jason said: “It is a good feeling to see the college in such a great place, with so many exciting plans in the pipeline.

“This award might be for leadership, but in my mind, it very much represents a whole team effort.”

Taking the helm of the college in 2018, following a merger with Stockton Riverside College, under Jason’s watchful eye the college in Redcar has undergone a rapid transformation.

Today it is listed as good with outstanding features by Ofsted, and is on the cusp of launching its brand-new Clean Energy Education Hub, a training facility that will meet the demands of the region’s emerging renewable and low carbon industries.

For Jason, who is also an executive principal of the Education Training Collective (Etc.) and a born and bred Teessider, the group’s plan was always to secure the future of the college for the people of Redcar and Cleveland, and in doing so, bolster opportunities for the wider community.

The Educate North Awards celebrate excellence, world class achievement and improvement across the university, higher education, further education and sixth form sectors in the North.

Redcar and Cleveland College, which is part of the Etc., was also named a finalists for FE College of the Year. The group were finalists in three further categories, Employer Engagement, The Sustainable Green Initiative and Mental health and Wellbeing.

Etc. chief executive and group principal Grant Glendinning said: “We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved at Redcar and Cleveland College and Jason has played a key role in making that happen. It is fantastic to see Jason and the group recognised.”

Education Training Collective rated Ofsted ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features

High praise from Ofsted is another great result for the colleges, students and staff, that make up the Education Training Collective (Etc.).

In its first full inspection since the merger of Stockton Riverside College and Redcar and Cleveland College, the group, which also includes Bede Sixth Form College, NETA Training and The Skills Academy (Billingham), has been rated ‘Good’ with ‘Outstanding’ features.

Ofsted principals 2022

The report, published today, describes a college group where students are “very proud to study” and they benefit from “a strong culture of positive respect”.

Group principal and chief executive, Phil Cook, said: “As a group our aim, above all else, is to provide high quality local colleges for local people. Gaining outstanding for leadership and management is a fantastic accolade for the group, but also and importantly for those stakeholders we work with; you do not achieve outstanding without excellent partnerships that have a direct impact on our students learning.”

The college group was also rated ‘Outstanding’ for behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and education programmes for young people, and rated ‘Good’ in all other areas. Phil added: “It is reasonable for parents, stakeholders and our communities to assume our provision for young people is now outstanding, as that’s what Ofsted has said and that is brilliant news. For other aspects of our provision such as our apprenticeships and our work with adults and high needs students, Ofsted has commended us and again our communities can be assured that such services are judged as being really really good.”

It also marks a milestone for Redcar and Cleveland College. The college had previously received an inadequate rating before merger, but in the view of Ofsted has been “transformed” and is now considered “the college of first choice” for many young people living in the borough.

Preparing to hand over the reins later this year, after nine years leading the college group, Phil said: “To deliver the service our communities deserve takes hard work and determination, from our staff, leaders, governing body and, of course, our amazing students, not least as we faced the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic.

“That’s why it is fantastic to now see our incredible teams, across the group, and our partners, receive external recognition.”

Inspectors also recognised the support that learners, of all ages and abilities, receive and the enrichment programme that “helps them to develop their wider employability skills, confidence, and resilience.”

There was further praise for the curriculum, which is shaped to meet local economy and skill demands while, working with specialist providers, the group is able to offer a “niche provision” giving people access to local jobs that would normally be out of reach.

The report said: “Students and apprentices benefit from useful and relevant training in their local communities which meets the needs of employers and the priorities of the local enterprise partnership.”

This has resulted in exciting projects in the pipeline, further supporting their local communities, such as the addition of Redcar’s Clean Energy Education Hub, plans to extend facilities at NETA Training and developments at Bede.

Chairman of the Etc. governing board, Mark White OBE DL, said: “As a board of governors we welcome this Ofsted result which is testament to the commitment of all our teams and the work they do to deliver for our communities.”

Retiring in the summer after 27 years on the boards of the colleges that make up the Etc., culminating in his current role as chair, Mark added: “I am extremely proud to have been a part of this incredible group of colleges, of everything it has achieved and everything it will go on to achieve in the future.”

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.”

bp signs agreement to support green skills and education initiatives on Teesside

bp has today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Redcar & Cleveland College in Redcar, Teesside, to support the creation of a range of educational programmes to help equip people in Teesside with the green career skills needed for the future.

As part of the arrangement, bp will provide £50,000 in funding for the development of the new Clean Energy Education Hub at the College. The Hub will specialise in clean energy and renewable industry training for school leavers, apprentices and adult learners.

The college and bp will together seek to develop a careers pathway plan based on skills demand for the proposed projects in the region, which will include higher education, apprenticeships and professional courses. It will respond to employers’ needs through employer-led programmes, with the College drawing on bp’s expertise and network to bolster opportunities for those entering or re-joining the local workforce.

Louise Kingham, bp’s UK head of country and senior vice president of Europe, said: “bp is backing Teesside. It is perfectly placed to become a world-class, low carbon energy hub, creating thousands of jobs in the region. We are committed to social and community investment in Britain, and local partnerships, such as those we are announcing today, which will be crucial in turning our vision for the region into reality.”

Principal of Redcar and Cleveland College, Jason Faulkner said: “We welcome the commitment bp has made not just to Teesside and its potential to lead the charge in the development of the clean energy and renewable sector, but also to inspire and motivate our communities and young people ready for the green career opportunities ahead. Through our Clean Energy Education Hub we will be able to equip school leavers and adults, of all ages, with the skills and training to build high quality meaningful careers in the Tees Valley and having the support and expertise of employers such as bp is essential to that.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi added: “It is superb to see businesses like bp leading the way in helping to make sure that people have the skills they need for the green careers of the future.

“Employers working closely with communities in this way helps people get the training they need to get on in sought-after industries in their local area.”

Teesside is uniquely placed to become the heartland of the UK’s energy transition and the financial injection into education will help local people develop the skills needed to help transform Teesside into a green energy hub.

NZT Power, which is a joint venture with Equinor, and the H2Teesside projects have the potential to create significant economic value (£3.5 billion) and thousands of jobs in the region.

NZT Power could support more than 3,000 jobs during construction and over 1,000 jobs once operations begin. H2Teesside could also provide more than 600 operational jobs and another 1,200 construction jobs by 2027.

Through the partnership with the College, bp will also support the Hub’s programmes in educating primary, secondary and college students, helping to inspire young people across Teesside to pursue career opportunities in clean energy.

bp has also expanded its collaboration with the Skills Builder Partnership to support schools in Teesside in improving essential skills and supporting teachers in delivering these skills to their pupils. The programme brings together educators, employers and skills-building organisations around a shared approach to building the essential skills for success.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “With the pioneering Net Zero Teesside Power and its plans for innovative blue and green hydrogen projects, bp is fast becoming one of the biggest supporters of our region, bringing thousands of good-quality jobs. This new MOU shows how it’s going even further to support people into the cleaner, safer and healthier industries of the future, investing in our institutions and talent for years to come.”

bp will also support the University of York’s Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC) ‘Children Challenging Industry’ programme. Backing 22 primary schools – the aim of the initiative is for young people to experience science in an industrial context working with bp volunteers to see how scientific concepts are applied from classroom scenarios to real life.