New heat network training centre to open

Vital Energi is set to support heat network skills development with the opening of a £2m training centre at its Blackburn HQ.

Gary Fielding, chairman of Vital Energi, said: “As a company dedicated to providing sustainable, long-term heat and power solutions, we believe it’s our responsibility to help close the skills gap facing our industry and support the workforce that is set to deliver the UK’s low-carbon future.

“Our new training centre will focus on knowledge sharing and skills development, providing attendees with the necessary tools to support the government’s heat network expansion plans. We expect the centre will significantly boost the pool of qualified and experienced workers in the industry.

“As a business, we already enable individuals seeking a change of career through training and support packages. We will continue to build on this approach by offering apprenticeships, graduate jobs and forging partnerships with higher education institutions in the communities in which we work. With the development of new skills and formal training, we believe our new facility will be an invaluable resource as we work towards achieving the country’s net zero ambitions.”

The new 600m2 facility is home to a 60-seater lecture theatre and seminar-style classrooms. It will provide pioneering demonstrative training resources and collaborative programmes, delivered with industry partners including LOGSTOR, which can be carried out both on and offline.

As district heating pipes are buried below ground, it can be challenging to train individuals without visiting a live project. With site visits impacted by the pandemic, Vital Energi has purpose-built two demonstration trenches which will be used to educate students and existing employees about techniques such as jointing and welding pipes, insulation processes and moisture control.

Sophie Park, director of Workforce Skills at Liverpool Community College, said: “We are so excited to be working alongside Vital Energi and together we will develop future skills for future jobs. Our partnership is built on the knowledge and skills of Vital Energi’s engineers and the innovative pedagogy of our curriculum leaders at The City of Liverpool College. This new state-of-the-art training centre will play an essential role in developing the science, engineering & digital skills needed to deliver our low-carbon future.”