Walk into NETA Training Group’s Lustrum facility in Stockton and managing director Phil Blewitt says you might just be surprised.
The brand new training centre houses its own 26-tonne Nordtank NTK 600/43 nearshore wind turbine nacelle, which when operational had a capacity of generating 600,000kW.
While he admits that getting it indoors proved something of a logistical nightmare, who better to solve the problem than NETA’s staff of time-served engineers?
The nacelle is, of course, eye catching, but for NETA and indeed the region, Phil says it represents so much more.
It shows the Tees Valley training provider’s commitment to emerging industries. In preparing themselves to deliver basic technical training for those working in the offshore and onshore wind industry, it positions NETA as a valuable supply chain partner when it comes to securing the region’s place at the forefront of this growing sector.
“Within the last decade the UK has become a world leader in the renewable energy field, particularly in wind energy,” says Phil. “The Tees Valley is in an excellent position to service a large section of that market.”
At NETA, he says, they want to ensure the area has the capability to train and upskill our workforce to capture this opportunity and support the local economy.
After all, servicing the demands of the Tees Valley’s employers and upskilling a local workforce has been the organisation’s priority for more than 40 years.
In fact, that was its whole reason for being when NETA was launched as a charitable training association in 1975.
Its scope may have grown since then to a national and indeed international reach, but Phil says: “Helping to deliver the local strategic growth plans by supporting the skills development of regional people and building the capability and competitiveness of Tees Valley businesses, remains a core value.”
For Phil and the team that means keeping an eye on emerging sectors, while building on existing strengths.
Taking the helm as managing director last year Phil, a passionate Teessider himself, is keen to spread the word that NETA is going from strength to strength.
The launch of its £1.12m Lustrum facility this year, with funding from the Tees Valley Combined Authority, Stockton Riverside College and NETA Training, is further testament to the training group’s continued commitment to the region.
As well as the nacelle and the opportunities it brings for maintenance and repair training, the new centre on Lustrum Industrial Park, also incorporates a DS-5 and DS-20 drill simulator, for use in the training of offshore drilling and well control, along with NETA’s mechanical Joint integrity division.
A new electrical CompEx department and AM2 electrical testing and re-skilling workshop is also helping to equip the region to meet the increase in demand in the industrial and engineering sector to verify and test employees’ skills, as well as offering competence assurance services.
Excited to be able to provide the right training opportunities to businesses, those starting out in their careers and those looking to retrain or upskill, Phil says: “It is about giving people the right skills and knowledge they need to both progress in their careers and also in supporting our local industry.”
He continues: “NETA was set up to service the demands of industry, to help businesses grow and develop, and that is what we have equipped ourselves to do.”
Looking at future developments in the Tees Valley, he comments: “We are once again on the launch pad with NETA. With inward investment coming into the area, we are in a great position to work with those companies to help them develop competent, skilled and safe workers.
“In a transforming industrial landscape, for us that means being able to deliver the training to service new and emerging industries, using latest technologies alongside core traditional capabilities.”
Getting to know NETA
NETA Training Group specialises in the provision of industry-standard vocational skills training for the engineering, process, manufacturing and construction sectors.
From its two sites on Pennine Avenue and Lustrum Industrial Park in Stockton, it delivers both commercial and government-funded training services, as well as apprenticeships.
Covering a diverse range of industrial sectors and services, NETA delivers training in electrical engineering, electrical/CompEx, instrumentation and control, welding and fabrication, renewable energy, drilling and well completion, gas, health, safety and environment, scaffolding, mechanical engineering and a wide range of energy and manufacturing related sectors.
A merger with Stockton Riverside College in 2015 has also enabled NETA to offer a full range of business administration, management and support training.
• To find out more about the full range of courses and customised training opportunities call 01642 616936 or visit neta.co.uk
Investing in core skills
It isn’t just the emerging sectors seeing investment at NETA Training. The addition of 10 new welding bays to its facility off Portrack Lane continues to build on the centre’s welding training capacity.
NETA’s commercial training manager Graham Middleditch says that the £75,000 investment, incorporating MIG/MAG, TIG and MMA welding sets, is recognition of the value and continued demand for traditional trades.
He reveals the call for highly trained coded welders is expected to increase with the growth in renewable and wind energy sectors. Early this year NETA was named a Welding World Award Finalist 2018 in the Best Training Provider category.