STEM Foundation

NEF CEO Opens the Energy Centre in South Devon

The South West received a boost to their skills development in renewable energy and resource efficiency technologies with the launch of a new training centre at South Devon College. The Energy Centre was opened by the New Engineering Foundation's CEO, Professor Sa'ad Medhat, who congratulated the Chair of the Governors, Kevin Mowatt and the senior executive team, staff and students at the college on the leading edge development. The Centre's Phase One, has already started to deliver MCS approved short courses in Solar Photo Voltaic (PV), Solar Thermal, Renewable Technologies Awareness and MCS Registration Awareness, and has support from companies such as: Romag, Schneider, Nu-Heat, Western Electrical and Sun Farming amongst others. A further Phase 2 is in the pipeline with ?1.2 million Regional Growth Fund support. Prof Medhat said of the Energy Centre, that "it presented an excellent resource for the the region, and would give supply chain companies an opportunity to skill up their staff to meet the stringent targets of 600,000 housing stock that must be made eco fit within the next nine years". He added that, "it was good to see local companies supporting the Centre, and he hoped to see other Colleges around the country following South Devon's example and working in partnership with business and industry to deliver skills training in economic growth areas".

The opening ceremony attended by senior industrialists from the region included presentations from the Regen South West and the Energy Saving Trust, who identified that the South West were experiencing over 100% increases in demand for renewable and ecofit business, but were held back by insufficient capacity - there simply weren't enough trained people in construction and building engineering service sector to install new green technologies such as solar PV, solar thermal, heat pumps and ecofit existing housing stock using skills such as deep wall thermal insulation. In his opening address, Prof Medhat acknowledged this significant skills gap, saying: "colleges like South Devon not only had a duty to deliver these skills for the benefit of the nation, but also had an immense opportunity afforded by this ecofit revolution to grow themselves. The time is now for Further Education, and NEF - who has already enabled some 320,000 STEM learners to benefit and plans to improve the teaching and learning of more than half a million by the end of 2012 - will be there to support lecturers' professional development in emerging and new sectors such as green technologies and drive the sector to take full advantage of these new areas."

See the news coverage here:
Green Expert Praises College's Eco Resources, 18 May 2011, The Herald
Phase 1 Launch for Energy Centre , 12 May 2011, Western Morning News

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