The Duchess of Northumberland has opened the latest phase of a wide ranging development at the Port of Blyth dedicated to the provision of education, training and opportunities.
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.
Whilst the development offers Newcastle University students the use of state-of-the-art research facilities including the Emerson Cavitation Tunnel Laboratory, the centre will also host landmark renewable energy related training courses from Northumberland College – some of the only course of their 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.
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.
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”.
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. Investment in phases 1 and 2 totals £3.5m.
Part of the project’s funding – £400,000 – was from the North East LEP as part of the North East Growth Deal from Government. The Local Growth Fund supports major capital investments to promote innovation, economic and skills infrastructure and sustainable transport across the North East LEP area.