A DECISION on where a national academy, to harness the skills needed for the future of the process industry, will be in the North-east is expected in September.

A DECISION on where a national academy, to harness the skills needed for the future of the process industry, will be in the North-east is expected in September.

The National Skills Academy Process Industries is an employer-led centre of excellence launched in response to the skills shortage within the sector.

NSAPI, working with the Cogent Sector Skills Council and employers to identify and address the skills gaps in the workforce, has already received more than £1m from more than 40 businesses.

The Learning and Skills Council and various regional development agencies will also make financial contributions.

A ministerial announcement regarding the approval of the Academy’s business plan is expected in September.

NSAPI project director Craig Crowther said several bases across the region were being looked at and a final decision will not be made until the academy reaches the end of its business planning stage in September.

Mr Crowther added: “Through NSAPI we aim to work with employers to develop a sound training infrastructure and strong relations with training and educational bodies to create

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the globally competitive workforce the UK wants and needs.”

The NSAPI team will work with employers and Cogent SSC with support from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS).

With its main base situated in the North-east, NSAPI will work on a national basis.

Craig added: “Though the hub is based in the North-east, NSAPI will have regional spokes covering the rest of the UK.

“The hub will provide national co-ordination and the regional offshoots are designed to meet the differing requirements of each part of the country. We are delighted with the regional spread of employer involvement, with companies getting involved from all parts of the UK.”

Employers getting behind the academy include SembCorp Utilities UK, Invista Performance Technologies, Johnson Matthey, Innospec Specialty Chemicals, Banner Chemicals, Solutia UK and Black Cat Fireworks.

The academy shadow board has representatives from multinationals including Basf, Sabic UK Petrochemicals, Degussa, Linpac Plastics, Ineos Olefins and GSK and small and medium-sized enterprises Reaxa, Contract Chemicals and Linecross.

Chris Horton, of Linpac Plastics, who chairs the NSAPI Board, said: “It is great to see companies of all sizes getting behind NSAPI from global multinationals to very small businesses. We are all keen to progress our industry, which is currently held back by a lack of suitably qualified employees.”

The process industries provide employment for close to 600,000 people throughout the UK, contributing £22bn to the national economy. They form an essential component of the manufacturing supply chain and are at the forefront of technological innovation.

He added: “The problem is that the process industries are struggling to find staff with specialist skills that are sector-specific. NSAPI is setting itself the challenge of tackling this situation head on.

“We are looking forward to working with employers, employees and providers to help businesses and their workforce achieve the globally competitive sector-focused skills we need to succeed.”


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