Gateshead College wins green deal Government training contract

Gateshead College is among the first North East training providers to win a share of a new £1 million Government initiative to boost the skills of people who provide advice on making property more energy efficient.

The news comes ahead of the region's first Big Eco Show at the Sunderland Stadium of Light, whichwill highlight to the North East business community what the ‘green agenda’ really is and the benefits of adopting key green principles.

The college’s £75,000 contract will see the college, which was awarded the work due to its low-carbon credentials, training dozens of people between now and the end of the year to become newly qualified Green Deal energy assessors as part of the Government’s new flagship scheme.

Launching later this year, Green Deal aims to renovate millions of draughty, energy inefficient homes and commercial premises across the UK. However, no-one will be able to participate in the scheme without their property first being assessed and recommendations agreed which will reduce energy waste.

Any assessments and advice will have to be provided by qualified and authorised Green Deal assessors including the new domestic energy assessment qualification currently being written by City & Guilds and ABBE (Awarding Body for the Built Environment).

As part of the ‘Go early’ funding the Department of Energy & Climate Change has earmarked £1 million to fund assessor training and appointed Asset Skills, the sector skills council for facilities management, housing, property, planning, cleaning and parking, to manage the project and place contracts.

The Government wants to have 1,000 newly qualified assessors in place by the end of the year who will work with businesses and consumers to provide advice about managing energy more efficiently as Green Deal gathers momentum. 

Already a number of local authorities across the country have committed themselves to the scheme by agreeing to employ 100 assessors, while some of the leading energy companies will be ramping up their domestic and commercial energy advice services by recruiting additional Green Deal experts.

Gateshead College has extensive experience in the building services and low carbon skills sector and will be drawing on this to train 60 Green Deal assessors at its Skills Academy for Construction on the Team Valley.

Although the majority of these are likely to be already working in the sector in some capacity, they will still receive specialist training to reach the required Green Deal standard and gain the new C&G/ABBE qualification.

The college will also be helping several people who do not have industry experience retrain for a new career, either by working for themselves as a self-employed consumer energy assessor or joining one of the Green Deal providers and installers.

There is also expected to be further job opportunities with local authorities and other public sector organisations as the scheme unfolds – they will need to recruit trained assessors if they want to be able to participate in the Green Deal scheme and deliver assessments.

All who participate in the college training will receive expert tuition in the latest energy and heating technologies as well as industry best practice to ensure they are fully qualified to work in the sector. 

Gateshead College is at the forefront of green energy training in the region and will be a leading North East college providing Green Deal training after winning the contract in the face of tough competition.

As well as providing energy management training that leads to industry recognised qualifications, it is in the vanguard of the emerging low carbon sector, equipping people with the new ‘green’ skills which are being integrated into the more traditional construction and trade apprenticeships.

Paul Gough, commercial operations manager at Gateshead College said: “The contract win is a major coup for us and fits within our green employability agenda.

“We already have a track record in energy assessment training so we were able to demonstrate sector knowledge, clear expertise and success in the sector to secure the Green Deal work.

“Trained, skilled professionals in assessing property energy efficiency and installing insulation will be crucial for getting the Green Deal scheme off the ground.

“So, we will not only be equipping experienced people with the extra skills they need but helping others who are looking to retrain or re-enter the job market find jobs and pursue new career opportunities.”

This ‘Go early’ project is not the only means of gaining the Green Deal Advisor qualification and there are many high quality training providers offering the Green Deal Advice course across Great Britain. For a list of registered training providers, contact the following Awarding Bodies: ABBE, City & Guilds, EDI and SQA.