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03/10/13: Power operator completes work on new £2m training academy

The construction of a new multi-million pound state-of-the-art training academy in Lancashire has been completed. Steve Johnson, chief executive at Electricity North West with Gordon Birtwistle MP and apprentices Matt Selenschuk and John Dewhurst

The new complex, based in Whitebirk, East Lancashire, will create local job opportunities and train the next generation of technicians and engineers to help maintain the North West’s electricity supply and deliver a £2.6bn investment programme.

Apprentices and employees from Electricity North West, the company which owns and maintains the region’s electricity network, yesterday welcomed the Government’s Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business, Gordon Birtwistle MP, for a special tour of the academy.

Steve Johnson, chief executive at Electricity North West, said: “I am delighted that work has been
completed and the doors are now open to our new training facility.

“This is a fantastic development and it will 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.”

Gordon Birtwistle MP, said: “I am delighted that Electricity North West are investing in the young people of Lancashire and in my role as the Government’s Apprenticeship Ambassador to Business I know the importance of training our young people in order to be equipped for a sustainable and successful future.

“It is excellent that Electricity North West is embracing the need to train young people in such an important sector and I am sure they will provide our next generation of engineers with valuable experience in a new, state-of-the-art facility.”

Electricity North West funds specific electrical qualifications as well as vocational on-the-job training. Alongside school-leavers, the power operator also offers training programmes accredited by the Institute of Engineering and Technology which cater for both A-level students and graduates who are looking for careers in the energy industry.

The new academy incorporates five workshops, classrooms, office space as well as associated amenity spaces, including outdoor training facilities.

The design of the building complements 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.

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