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24/10/2012: Green light for new North West training hub

Plans for a new state-of-the-art training academy in Whitebirk, Lancashire is one step closer after council officials approved the submitted planning application. An artist’s impression of how the academy will look

Plans by Electricity North West to build a training academy at its Whitebirk depot were passed by Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council and Hyndburn Council on Thursday (18th October).

Electricity North West, which owns and maintains the region’s electricity network, aims to train members of staff and also cater for people looking to begin developing a career in the electricity industry which will help power the region for years to come.

Electricity North West HR director, Paul Taylor, said: “We are delighted that our planning application has been approved for our new state-of-the-art training facility.

“The training facility will support the training of 150 new roles being created in the business over the next few years, whilst also providing a new regional hub for training the engineers of the future.

“The new academy will also allow us to grow our already successful apprenticeship scheme, with space for even more apprentices, A-level entrants and graduates joining our programmes. This growth is vital to ensure the North West’s network and our people are fully equipped to meet the challenges of the future.”

Electricity North West funds specific electrical qualifications as well as vocational on-the-job training. Alongside school-leavers, Electricity North West also offers accredited IET training programmes which cater for both A-level students and graduates who are also looking for a career in the energy industry.

The new academy, which will utilise current vacant land at the depot, will incorporate five workshops, classrooms, office space as well as associated amenity spaces, including outdoor training facilities.

The design of the building will complement Electricity North West’s strategy for a sustainable future by minimising energy demands of the building, and as a result maintaining a low carbon footprint.

Work on the new training academy will commence early next year with the academy due to be completed by summer 2013.

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