Stoke on Trent College has announced that they will be training workers at the first National District Heat Skills Academy, and they will draw much of the expertise from collaboration with Swedish organisations and companies. Heat Networks - Sustainability by Sweden's members, such as Nordic Heat, have been supporting in driving this forward.
Stoke-on-Trent is one of the cities in the UK to install a pioneering district heat network, with the first pipes laid in the university quarter area last September. This initiative will help reduce the city’s carbon footprint and lower people’s fuel bills. The said investment will be over £500 million towards the low maintenance sustainable energy scheme.
The District Heat Academy launched in September with the following, national and international organisations and companies, partnering with Stoke on Trent College for the new course focusing on heat networks development: Smart City Alliance, Nordic Heat, Öresundkraft, City of Helsingborg, Swedish Energy Agency, Logstor, Cetetherm and NODA Intelligent Systems.
Stoke on Trent College is the largest provider of further education in Stoke and North Staffordshire, with around 10,000 students each year on full-time and part-time study programmes, apprenticeships, professional qualifications and university-level courses. They also help thousands of local people each year to gain the basic skills needed for work, be it English and maths, employability skills or specific work-related qualifications.
The new academy will be responsible for providing young people and adults with the skills and qualifications needed to design, install and maintain a major new renewable energy infrastructure in the UK, namely district heat networks. This will be highly important to continue driving the development of heat networks in the future and to achieve the climate goals. The college will offer apprenticeships, full-time and part-time courses in building services, engineering, electrical installation, welding, plumbing, groundworks, highways maintenance and heating and ventilation.
“The District Heat Academy will enable construction companies to recruit a locally trained, highly skilled workforce.” says Mark Woodward, Co-Founder of The Smart City Alliance, which has supported in the setup of the District Heat Academy. “This will boost employment prospects in the city and also provide home-grown SMEs with a talent pool to help them grow and expand into new markets.”
Currently there are at least 17,000 heat networks in the UK, together providing around only 2% of UK buildings heat demand. We welcome the Heat Academy’s collaboration with Sweden, a country where heat networks account for more than 50% of the heat demand, and we will follow with interest how Swedish companies can support the training of the new generation with the skills needed to deliver the future renewable energy infrastructure.
“These experts will pass on their skills and experience to college lecturers and teaching staff, so that we can train a whole generation of people in the skills needed to design, supply and maintain the new geothermal energy networks.” comments Kevin Smith, Director of Apprenticeships at Stoke on Trent College.
Sweden is at the forefront of decentralised heat networks technology. Our aim for “Heat Networks – Sustainability by Sweden” is to facilitate knowledge sharing between British and Swedish stakeholders and develop and encourage environmental and economic best practice.
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