New training centre to address Net Zero skills shortage in the Marches

Last year, the Midlands Net Zero Hub helped the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to establish and promote its new £4million Marches Energy Fund. Since then it has been working with the LEP to project manage the development of three exciting new energy projects in the region, each tackling a different issue highlighted in the Marches Energy Strategy.

The Herefordshire Low Carbon Training Centre is one of these, and is seen as particularly important as it will help to fill some of the green skills gaps identified in the Hub’s Low Carbon Goods and Services (LCEGS) report for the region.

The LEP has invested £1.2million into the creation of the Herefordshire Low Carbon Technology Centre as part of its commitment to driving a sustainable and green economy across Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

The centre – which will support 750 new learners and provide training in low carbon and renewable technologies – will be based in a new home at Herefordshire, Ludlow & North Shropshire College’s Holme Lacy campus.

It was awarded funding from the newly-created Marches Energy Fund – developed by the LEP in response to the climate emergency and soaring energy costs in the wake of the conflict in the Ukraine.

The centre, which is scheduled to be complete by next Easter, will develop industry-leading training in green skills, ensuring that a new generation of skilled engineers and installers can keep the Marches at the forefront of the green revolution.

LEP chief executive Rachel Laver was given a tour of the site and said she was delighted with how things were progressing.

“It is wonderful to see this really important project taking shape and the sense of excitement around the centre as it gathers pace. This centre will help to address a well-established shortage in green skills and support the journey to Net Zero, not just locally but by training people from across the region.

“It will be amongst the first nationally to offer the new apprenticeship standard in Low Carbon Heating Technician and showcase low carbon technologies, improving business and home efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.”

As an MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) approved centre, training will be provided to the construction industry, developing the skills required to install low-carbon technologies, including solar, ground-source and air-source heat pumps in both new build and retrofit settings.

The centre will also train the college’s electrical, plumbing, and construction students and apprentices.

Interior of the training centre before construction work begins

Exterior of training centre 

Interior of one of the completed buildings

Tim Yair (Midlands Net Zero Hub) and Rachel Laver (Marches LEP) hear about progress from Mitchell Gardner (Herefordshire, Ludlow and North Shropshire College)

Alex Pearson (Midlands Net Zero Hub), Tim Yair, Rachel Laver, and Mitchell Gardner visit the site