SKILLS in renewable energy and retrofitting are set to receive a major boost thanks to a grant from a Gloucestershire based fund.

SGS College and Stroud District Council have secured £450,000 to create the Berkeley Low Carbon Training Centre - a renewable energy and retrofit training centre at the college’s Gloucestershire Science and Technology Park at Berkeley.

The money has come from the Gloucestershire Strategic Economic Development Fund.

Using the former Berkeley research laboratories, the investment will convert redundant buildings into training rooms with training rigs, classrooms and workshops to teach the skills needed to support the country’s challenge in meeting net-zero carbon emission targets.

A college spokesperson said: "The investment will build on the historic role of Berkeley at the centre of the energy research establishment to create a regional training centre for the south west. 

"This complements the existing low-carbon knowledge cluster on the science park, including the Active Building Centre and the SGS Berkeley University Technical College.  

"The training will boost the skills of those working within the renewable energy sector including installers and specifiers for solar, heat pumps and retrofit. 

"Courses will also be provided for those wishing to enter the sector and for both businesses and individuals who wish to understand how they can improve their energy efficiency and reduce their carbon emissions. 

"The centre will also have a trailblazer role in developing training courses and materials that can be utilised by other training centres to expand capacity."

The centre will also support the curriculum of the University Technical College already on site.  Both the UTC and SGS College will support low-carbon employers with the progression of graduates into jobs and apprenticeships.

SGS principal Sara-Jane Watkins: “Over the last five years, our work at the Berkeley campus has really been focussed on supporting innovation into green technologies and working with partners to understand how critical net zero is to the sustainability and survival of future generations." 

SDC leader Catherine Braun said said: “Skills to deliver energy efficient and low carbon properties have never been more essential and I am delighted that through our partnership with SGC College we will have a new centre in our district that will equip individuals and businesses throughout Gloucestershire and beyond to make the vital transition to a net zero future.”