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New City College pioneers green skills agenda with Low Carbon Technology Lab

Dan White speaks at Low Carbon Technology Lab launchDan White speaks at Low Carbon Technology Lab launchNew City College is proud to announce the launch of FE’s first low carbon technology lab which will provide green skills training for London’s workforce.

The lab, equipped with cutting-edge technology, was launched at a special breakfast presentation on Thursday 4 May, attended by industry experts and business leaders who had the chance to tour the new facilities and hear about the benefits they will provide in the challenge for a new way of working to meet cleaner energy and net zero targets.

The launch followed the creation of the Central London Forward Partnership, led by New City College, which comprises nine colleges across Central London. The partnership successfully secured a £2.7million bid from the Strategic Development Fund (SDF) to deliver high quality technical education in the low carbon energy industry.

Catherine Barber Hazel Mealy Dan White and Gerry McDonald at Low Carbon Technology Lab launchCatherine Barber, Hazel Mealy, Dan White and Gerry McDonald at Low Carbon Technology Lab launchThe lab has been developed at New City College Hackney and will be invaluable to employers who need to retrain employees in green skills and low carbon technologies. Courses and training for the next generation of installers include Solar PV, Solar Thermal, Air Source Heat Pumps, Electric Storage, Electric Vehicle Charging, Retrofit, and Energy Efficiency.

Gerry McDonald, CEO and Group Principal of New City College said at the launch: “This new and innovative training facility represents a major step forward in our commitment to sustainability and makes us the sector leading college for the low carbon energy agenda. We have invested in it and have delivered, making us well placed to be pioneers in this essential work.”

To the attendees, Gerry added: “You are the people who are going to make this happen. And you need a college to work hand-in-hand with industry and other partners, to make sure that London and the UK has the right people and skills to make the necessary changes to reach net zero.”

Jamie Stevenson with Hazel Mealy and Dan White with their awardsJamie Stevenson with Hazel Mealy and Dan White with their awardsGuest speaker Catherine Barber, Director of Environment and Energy for the GLA, congratulated New City College on the lab launch and said: “The Mayor wants London to be net zero by 2030, so this agenda on climate change, on clean technology and providing the skills that London needs to meet this ambitious target, is so vital.

“There are currently about 4,000 people working in retrofit in London, but that figure needs to be closer to 60,000 people, so there is an enormous demand for skilled workers and the training you are offering.”

As well as tours of the facilities, guests also saw Gerry McDonald unveil a commemorative plaque and present awards to two Low Carbon Skills Champions, industry experts Dan White from MCS and Hazel Mealy from Lewisham, Lambeth and Southwark Councils, who had been instrumental in helping to set up the lab.

Low Carbon Technology Lab at New City College 1Low Carbon Technology Lab at New City College 1In accepting the award, Dan said: “There is an immediacy about where we are in renewables. They are not our future, they are our now. One of the greatest challenges is persuading employees out of their old ways and into the new. Older people need to retrain in the middle of their carers – and this is the first challenge we are facing.

“Right now the market is going crazy, searching for skilled staff. We need to lift the standard of training, of qualifications and of competence in low carbon technologies – that’s what the customer deserves. And this lab is where it will all start.”

Jamie Stevenson, NCC Group Executive Director for Apprenticeships & Business Development, who leads the SDF project for Central London, thanked key partner Quantum Group.

Low Carbon Technology Lab tourLow Carbon Technology Lab tourHe said: “I am delighted this project has culminated in FE’s first low carbon lab, which is an excellent resource for Londoners and industry. We can now deliver tailored, hands-on and bespoke training to existing employees and the future workforce to help London work towards net zero.

“The SDF funding has enabled us to invest in facilities, resources and our staff, to deliver the green skills required for today and for future proofing our tomorrow.

“We’re excited about the impact our project is having on the local community. We will continue to develop our offering and invest in the next generation of low carbon energy professionals.”

Guests at the launch were treated to a fantastic breakfast prepared by NCC Hospitality and Catering students who train in Hackney’s OKN1 restaurant.

For more information, visit Central London Forward Green Skills Partnership.