Funding awarded for energy skills centres

National colleges for nuclear, onshore oil and gas will be built in Cumbria and Blackpool as planned after ministers approved £80m of funding for new skills centres around the country.

The National College for Nuclear will have bases in Cumbria and Somerset and is to receive £15m from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills for the construction of new buildings and equipment.

The National College for Onshore Oil and Gas will be located in Blackpool. The college will receive £5.6m from BIS for equipment, with further pledges in place from industry.

There are further colleges planned for rail in Birmingham and Doncaster, digital skills in London and creative industries in Purfleet, Essex.

The national colleges were announced by George Osborne in the November 2015 spending review. Nick Boles, skills minister, said: “This is the investment in high-tech skills that businesses are crying out for. We have made it a priority to work with employers to deliver high-quality, technical education and clear routes to employment that deliver economic growth and create opportunities for our young people, and enable our existing workforce to upskill and retrain for the jobs of the future.”

Local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships, industry bodies and businesses are also contributing towards the colleges.

The first colleges will open in September 2016 with the network fully operational by September 2017.

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