Education officials tour Blackburn College EV training facility

Blackburn College invited representatives from the Department for Education to take a first look at its new Hybrid Electric Automotive Training (HEAT) facility, set to open later this year.

HEAT is part of the £1.3m Lancashire Automotive Skills Accelerator Project, which will bridge the skills gap in low-carbon vehicle mechanics. The facility will focus on Electric and Hybrid vehicle maintenance, service and repair.

The centre, located in the College’s Regional Automotive Technology Hub (RATH), will support the government’s commitment to withdrawing the sale of new petrol or diesel cars in 2030 as part of the UK’s net-zero targets.

The college is leading the Lancashire Automotive Skills Accelerator Project funded by the Department for Education, as part of The Skills Accelerator Strategic Development Fund.

Representatives from the Department for Education toured the new facilities along with representatives from a number of the college’s partner garages including Bowker BMW, Chorley Nissan, West Riding Hyundai and Alan Price Automobile Services.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Colleagues from the department were delighted to see, first-hand, how the Strategic Development Fund is enabling Blackburn college to meet local skill priorities, reduce carbon emissions and help boost the economy.

"Managed by the Department for Education, the fund is giving colleges access to cutting-edge equipment, such as Blackburn’s world-class automotive facilities which will help deliver the skills needed to allow even more automotive business to service hybrid and electric vehicles.”

Dr Fazal Dad, Blackburn College principal and chief executive, said: "HEAT will be a vital tool in helping to bridge the skills gap in low carbon vehicle mechanics in Lancashire.

"Working alongside businesses we will be able to provide our students with access to cutting-edge hybrid and electric vehicle technology and skills development that will help meet the needs of their future employers."