Renewables training centre to open in Wales

British Gas is to open a dedicated green skills training centre in Tredegar, South Wales later this year.

The centre will train over 1300 people each year. This will include specialist provision to help enable local, long-term unemployed people to find work in the emerging green economies. British Gas will also use the centre to train its new staff and up-skill its existing force in renewable technologies.

British Gas has developed the project in conjunction with the Welsh Assembly Government and JobMatch, Jobcentre Plus, SummitSkills and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council are strategic partners.

The Green Skills Centre has a key part to play in helping to drive regeneration, aid sustainability and reduce fuel poverty in a region where regeneration activity is centred on building local economic growth and eliminating higher than average levels of social deprivation.

In particular, it will help the Welsh Assembly Government deliver energy efficiency measures to 40,000 homes, including the installation of large volumes of microgeneration and renewable technologies, as part of its Heads of the Valleys Low Carbon Programme. Achieving this goal would create the largest low carbon zone of its kind in Europe.

First Minister Rhodri Morgan welcomed the investment to create a centre of excellence in skills training for the rapidly growing green energy sector.

"The Heads of the Valleys was the crucible of the world's first energy revolution, which was based on fossil fuels and the Assembly Government is now working to ensure this area is at the forefront of the future energy revolution promoting renewable sustainable green energy and low carbon housing.

“Extremely ambitious targets have been set for the low carbon zone where the ultimate aim is to reduce fuel poverty and attract investment to develop the highest concentration of renewable energy businesses in Europe.”

Phil Bentley, managing director of British Gas, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for British Gas to be involved with a unique skills centre which will deliver economic, environmental and social benefits.”

British Gas is already working with a number of local social housing providers to install renewable technologies into properties that have been identified as being energy inefficient.