Hull College announces partnership with Yorkshire Energy Park

One of the largest further and higher education colleges in the country has announced its support for the proposed £200 million Yorkshire Energy Park.

Hull College Group offers over 1,000 courses to more than 26,000 students every year from its colleges in Hull, Goole and Harrogate and says the proposed scheme, which will create up to 4,480 jobs, will create new partnerships and open up exciting opportunities for students and local people.

The Yorkshire Energy Park is a potential new development located on the former Hedon Aerodrome site on the outskirts of Hull, within the village of Preston South, to the west of Hedon.

It is being proposed by locally-based Sewell Group, Hessle-based communications company MS3 Networks and development company Chiltern Group, and an outline planning application was submitted in May 2017, with a decision by East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Planning Committee expected in the coming weeks.

If planning permission is granted, the energy park will include an energy centre, data centre and disaster recovery suite, space for established and start-up businesses and SME growth, a National Centre of Excellence for education, training and research alongside associated short-stay accommodation, an outdoor building materials and testing facility, and new sports facilities for the community.

Due to the uniqueness of Yorkshire Energy Park, a number of multi-national and national brand names have already announced their support for the plans, including E.ON, Asanti, Dell, SSE, BYD and Legal & General.

Now, Michelle Swithenbank, Chief Executive and Principal of Hull College Group, said the education and vocational opportunities the energy park could offer will open up a whole new world of prospects.

She said: “We recognise the importance of the energy sector in our region and already work closely with employers in this area to ensure our students get the skills they need to find the jobs that they want.

“We are very proud of our ability to tailor what we deliver according to local demand and Yorkshire Energy Park has the potential for us to develop further partnerships which could lead to new learning opportunities and long-term employment for our young people.

“We are also delighted to be the first college group to support the park alongside big names such as E.ON, Dell and Legal and General who are also backing this development, which we believe will open new doors for our students.”

The team behind the Yorkshire Energy Park has worked in partnership with statutory agencies for three years to bring about this flagship project, putting the Humber region on the map, including more than 1,000 hours of public engagement to ensure the scheme has been developed with the community.

The fundamental reason for this site is the presence of a connection to the National Grid and it can offer clean, reliable energy at significantly less cost than the market for on-site users. Energy can also be sold back to the grid.

It is the only site on the north bank of the Humber where this grid connection exists with sufficient capacity for import/export of energy and where there is a piped natural gas fuel supply already on site.

The region’s biggest business body, the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), has also backed the plans, with Chairman Lord Haskins announcing it has the organisation’s “full support”.

Now, as Hull College announces its support and looking ahead to the future, education is also one of the key points at the heart of the proposed development.

Chris Turner, Yorkshire Energy Park Chairman, said: “It’s fantastic to have Hull College Group’s backing for the Yorkshire Energy Park plans and we are thoroughly looking forward to working in partnership with them.

“They join a whole host of other major brand names in committing their valued support, which is crucial to the region and the positioning the Humber as the UK’s Energy Estuary.

“Education and creating opportunities for local people is an integral part of this development and it’s brilliant that Hull College Group is so keen to play such a significant role.”

Ethan Meade, 19, who has recently completed a BTEC in IT and is currently on the lookout for a graduate opportunity said:

“I’ve had to search a really big area that might mean moving away from home to find a job. Schemes like this create graduate opportunities with companies so people like me can get on the career ladder without having to leave the region.