Blackpool and The Fylde College named national college hub for onshore oil and gas

Blackpool and The Fylde College (B&FC) has been announced as the UK hub for the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas.

Building on the UK’s world-leading offshore oil and gas heritage, the National College is being set up by representative body UKOOG to meet the industry’s future skills needs and help the UK to become an international centre of excellence for onshore operations.

The news was announced by the Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, minister of state for business and enterprise and minister of state for energy as he visited B&FC on 12 November. The minister also laid a foundation stone at the college’s Advanced Technology Centre, which will deliver core advanced engineering skills required for progression paths into the energy sector.

Bev Robinson, principal and chief executive at Blackpool and The Fylde College welcomed the announcement. She said: “This is very positive news for Blackpool, the Fylde Coast and the whole of Lancashire. B&FC are delighted to be able to contribute to the country’s energy industry and ultimately production capacity.

“Crucially, this will drive long term investment in the region, meet the demand for highly skilled labour and secure local jobs. To be named as the hub for one of the National Colleges is a privilege. It is testament to the College’s well established relationships with industry partners and high quality skills training up to and including honours degree programmes.”

As the hub for the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas, the college will deliver a comprehensive range of advanced qualifications, up to and including honours degree programmes, and produce the highly skilled engineers and technicians of the future.

B&FC has a proven track record of training employees for the offshore oil and gas industry to the exacting safety standards required by accrediting body Opito, who will also accredit onshore courses.

The college has been supported in its bid by a number of industry-leading organisations including Centrica Energy and Cuadrilla Resources.

Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla said: “We are delighted that the new National College for the onshore oil and gas industry is to be headquartered at Blackpool and The Fylde College. Several independent studies have shown that the development of a shale gas industry in the region will generate tens of thousands of jobs and this new National College will give the North West region a head start in developing the skills that are needed for a productive shale gas industry.”

Greg McKenna, director of non operated assets at Centrica Energy said: “We welcome the commitment to a National College for the onshore oil and gas sector, which marks an important step forward for the industry.

“Blackpool and The Fylde College is an outstanding educational establishment which is well placed to play a key role in delivering the National College initiative. High quality training programmes are extremely important to the future of the energy industry, as year on year the UK is faced with a growing shortage of engineers. Initiatives such as the National College will help us tackle this issue, and allow young people greater access to training opportunities which will lead to skilled jobs.

“We are pleased to offer our support to Blackpool and The Fylde College and all of the partner organisations who will be involved in delivering the National College programme.”

Bev Robinson added: “We extend our particular thanks to industry partners, the Lancashire LEP and local MPs who have worked closely with B&FC throughout the process and played an integral part in Lancashire securing the national hub. We will continue to liaise with industry to ensure our skills offer is fully aligned to the jobs and careers available.” B&FC is a leading training provider for the energy sector. It has been working closely with the Lancashire LEP to address the skill priorities identified in the growth strategy and as a result, more than £6million of funding has been set aside for the College to create an Energy HQ for Lancashire. The Energy HQ will support traditional oil and gas as well as renewable and low-carbon energy generation training and skills, and will now include onshore oil and gas. B&FC will support the industry as it makes the step change from fossil fuels to renewable and low-carbon energy sources.