College gives wind farm plans thumbs up

Tees Business Digital Media Pack

Darren Hankey

A top engineering college is confident of getting some spin-offs after plans for the world’s largest offshore wind farm were given the green light.

Approval was granted for Dogger Bank’s Teesside A&B development last week in a move that could create more than 4,700 jobs.

The scheme is being developed by offshore wind consortium Forewind, with power from Dogger Bank coming to shore between Redcar and Marske.

The news has been welcomed by Darren Hankey, principal at Hartlepool College of Further Education, and having worked with Forewind in the past he is confident his campus can provide support when the project is up and running.

Mr Hankey (pictured above) said: “A few years ago we were part of a bid that went over to Spain to talk to Gamesa, a wind turbine manufacturer, about a possible relocation to Hartlepool.

“Unfortunately that did not work out, but the College realised that offshore wind was going to be a big part of the economy for the Tees Valley and when we moved to our new campus in 2011, we invested in the relevant hardware.

“We’ve met with people from Forewind and this week’s news was a further step along the track of this project being delivered.

“There’s still a long way to go, but Hartlepool College of FE is well positioned to deliver the necessary skills training.

“We will be watching how things progress with interest.”

The combined 400-turbine development is the largest renewable energy applications ever to be approved in the UK, and could power up to two million homes once up and running.

Hartlepool College was recently named in the Top 10 for apprentices out of hundreds of colleges in the country and is in the top 20% for all subjects. It specialises in STEM subjects and is home to a well established engineering and aeronautical facility.

Mr Hankey continued: “Hartlepool College of Further Education has a long and well-established track record of delivering high quality engineering skills training and education.

“We are one of the largest providers of engineering apprenticeships in the North East and the success rate of its apprenticeship programmes is one of the best in England.

“The news related to the next stage of the offshore wind farm at Dogger Bank being given the green light is welcome news for us.

“The college’s Skills Academy houses a nacelle, a Siemens control panel and a 50ft wind turbine blade so we are well placed to provide the necessary skills training should investment come to the Tees Valley or beyond.”


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