East Kent College’s Centre for Environmental Technologies has been officially opened by the Rt Hon Gregory Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
The £6.5m Future Building, which is located at the College’s Broadstairs campus, is the only centre of its kind in Kent and presents an unrivalled opportunity for students to gain skills in the renewable energy, engineering and construction sectors.
Gregory Barker MP said: “The £6.5 million investment in the Centre for Environmental Technologies (CfET) at East Kent College is not only great for Thanet, but a real investment in our country’s future as a world leader in green technology, and a competitor in the global race for green jobs and growth.”
Among the 100 guests attending the official opening were local employers who, after a tour of the building, were able to see students demonstrating skills in carpentry, plumbing, automotive technologies, engineering, welding and renewables.
During his visit, the Minister joined a discussion on the skills needed to support growth in renewable energy and sustainable construction. Representatives from London Array, Discovery Park, Vattenfall and Cummins shared their thoughts on businesses and education working together.
Laura Sandys, Thanet South MP, commented: “This is a fantastic day for Thanet. East Kent College’s Centre for Environmental Technologies is a state of the art facility equipping its students with the much-needed skills of the future. As part of, and in supporting the development of a real green hub in recent years, Thanet now plays host to a very diverse range of businesses in the sector. This new Centre coupled with an always forward-looking curriculum will ensure that we have the skills to fulfil future demand, securing more investment and more jobs for our Green Grand Isle.”
East Kent College is keen to ensure that the training provided at The Future Building meets local businesses’ needs and continues to maintain strong links with relevant companies in the area.
East Kent College Principal Graham Razey added: “We are extremely proud of our new building and the opportunities it offers our students. Our aim at the College is to create fulfilling futures for our students, enabling them to access jobs in emerging sectors of employment.
“The Future Building will enable students to understand how traditional trades and technologies are being adapted and advanced. We will be delivering skills ahead of needs and thereby providing the best possible opportunity for each student’s future employment in a workplace where energy efficiency will surely be of increasing importance.”
Designed to be a teaching resource in its own right, The Future Building has its electrical and mechanical systems on display to enable students to see them working and understand how the building is designed.
Within its large open-plan workshops is the latest equipment for students of plumbing, carpentry and joinery, electronic and mechanical engineering, as well as sustainable building techniques, solar panel installation and renewable energy.
The building itself features roof-mounted cells for electrical power, solar thermal panels to heat water, rainwater harvesting to flush toilets and equipment to measure both energy generated and used.
Sun pipes flood light into the building which, thanks to its low carbon footprint, was awarded a BREEAM rating of Excellent, an assessment of the sustainability of a building’s design and construction, and was shortlisted for a prestigious Greenbuild award, which celebrates sustainable buildings.