Once famous for coal, the port is now a leading offshore energy base in the North East and has this week opened the doors to a £2m training centre designed to prepare the UK port services, offshore and renewable energy workforces of the future.
The second phase of a development known as the Blyth Education and Community Hub (BEACH) sees the Port partner with award winning training provider Port Training Services, Newcastle University, Northumberland College and other regional partners.
The development will offer Newcastle University students the use of state-of-the-art research facilities including the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel Laboratory, whilst also hosting landmark renewable energy related training courses from Northumberland College – one of the only courses of its type available in the UK.
Port of Blyth’s training subsidiary Port Training Services is to develop its offering of NVQ’s and plant training, while enhancing its delivery of apprenticeships and community engagement through a thriving schools partnership and an innovative tie in with the Blyth Tall Ship charity, who deliver training and create opportunities for local young people not in education or employment.
Martin Lawlor, Chief Executive of Port of Blyth, said: “We’re delighted that the Duchess of Northumberland was able to join us again – having opened phase one of this development – to launch a second phase that will offer the people of Blyth, South East Northumberland and beyond significant opportunities for training, education and ultimately employment”.
Whilst all partners in the project have committed notable funds to the development, this latest phase of the hub has attracted significant funding from the Coastal Communities Fund, North East LEP and Sport England.
Andrew Hodgson, Chair of the North East Local Enterprise Partnership Board, commented: “The North East LEP allocates funding from the Local Growth Fund to support projects that will create more and better jobs in our region. This excellent training centre will offer unrivalled opportunities for the local people, and those from further afield, to bolster their skills, and we are very happy to see it come into fruition.”
Phase one of the Blyth Education and Community Hub, which opened in 2014, delivered a maritime heritage centre, an Engineering and Marine Science base for Newcastle University as well as a new facility for the training and community outreach charity Blyth Tall Ship and striking home for the Blyth Boathouse restaurant.