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Siemens, the leading global engineering and technology company today celebrates the opening by Lord Willis of Knaresborough of its Energy Service Training Centre in Newcastle. This £8 million investment by Siemens provides a unique in-house training environment and experience for service technicians working on conventional and renewable power plants and helps put the North East firmly on the map as a centre of excellence for skills and training.
The UK skills agenda is one of the most significant challenges faced by the country. The demand for engineers far outstrips current supply in long-established engineering sectors, as well as new areas, such as renewables. Siemens has addressed this challenge comprehensively and proactively by investing in an in-house resource to develop the skills and talent needed for the future. Siemens’s contribution has recently been acknowledged by the Engineering Employer Federation (EEF), with the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Skills and Training award for the Energy Service Training Centre’s strategic approach to tackling the UK skills challenge.
Siemens has a long tradition of training regionally and nationally and has made very significant investments in its facilities to develop its in-house learning and development capability. It first established a training facility at the Newcastle site in 2008 to train service technicians working on conventional power plants - a business which serves the international power generation market. In 2009, a wind power technician training facility was added to the site, which reflects the growing importance of the renewables business for Siemens in the UK. The centre now has dedicated areas containing steam and gas turbines and generator technology, where employees are trained in an environment closely resembling that which they will experience out in the field. Similarly, the wind power training facility, the first to open in the UK, includes a full-size 2.3MW nacelle and two training towers. There are plans next year to add a 3.6MW nacelle to the facility. The latest investments have also included the development of 15 state-of-the-art classrooms kitted out with the latest IT.
Keith Hunter, general manager, Training Services, Siemens Energy Service, explained the rationale for the training centre: “We are a service business and our customers depend on us to keep their plants up and running, safely and efficiently. It is imperative therefore that we have people with the right skills. Investing in our in-house capability was the best way to ensure that quality and reliability for our customers.”
The training centre focuses on two core areas: safety and technical skills, replicating as far as possible ‘real-life’ field conditions. Siemens trains up to 500 newly-hired employees each year. Many hundreds of other employees working on wind, steam or gas turbines also attend refresher or up-skilling courses at the centre. In addition to this, Siemens has around 150 young people studying for an apprenticeship at any one time and also manages the training programmes for the 15 graduates who join the Energy Service business each year. As Hunter explains: “Ensuring we have a pipeline of future talent, by developing apprentices and graduates is a further key focus for our training centre team. And as well as developing our own employees at the centre, we make our training skills and facilities available to our customers, helping to cement our long-term relationships.”
Speaking about the centre, Graham Hartley, director, Siemens Energy Service Fossil said: “This could not be a more exciting time for the UK Service business, with the high growth projected in Renewables, as well as the growth of the global gas turbine market and combine cycle power plants. Having a world-class training facility to support this business is critical to future development. Given the North East’s history and engineering heritage, we’re incredibly proud to house the UK’s only training centre combining training facilities for technicians working on wind farms and power plants.”
The training facility also maintains strong links with local schools such as Sir Charles Parson's School and Specialist Science College, St Cuthbert's RC High School and George Stephenson High School, as well as Tyne Metropolitan, Lincoln and Carnegie Colleges and the Universities of Newcastle, Durham and Northumbria.
Notes to editors:
About Siemens in the UK
Siemens was established in the United Kingdom 169 years ago and now employs 12,972 people in the UK. Last year’s revenues were £4.4 billion*. As a leading global engineering and technology services company, Siemens provides innovative solutions to help tackle the world’s major challenges, across the key sectors of energy, industry, infrastructure & cities and healthcare. Siemens has offices and factories throughout the UK, with its headquarters in Frimley, Surrey. The company’s global headquarters is in Munich, Germany. For more information, visit www.siemens.co.uk
* Data includes intercompany revenue. Data may not be comparable with revenue reported in annual or interim reports.
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