A Newcastle-based energy firm has invested £100,000 in a new centre which will see thousands of engineering jobs created over the next five years.
Energy services company, Future Energy Solutions Ltd, works in partnership with Blackburn-based Nutech Ltd, part of the Bglobal group.
The company, which was set up in 2012, has already created six new jobs, and plans to create opportunities for around 2,000 trained engineers over the next five years.
Based on the Armstrong Industrial Estate, Invincible Drive, Newcastle, the 6,000 sq ft centre is the first of its kind in the North East and will see around 400 students receive smart meter installation training each year. Existing, qualified meter engineers will also be able to upskill to install the smart meter technology.
Smart meters work by communicating directly with the energy supplier to ensure bills are based on real-time reading rather than estimates and customers can track energy usage accurately. There is no need to take meter readings, which means there will be no under or over-paying.
The Government’s plan is for smart meters to be installed in every home and small business across the UK by 2020. The roll-out of 53 million gas and electricity meters, which will be managed by Ofgem, is scheduled to start in autumn 2015. Talks are currently ongoing between suppliers and the Government with ministers pledging to do all they can to reduce energy bills.
Tim Cantle-Jones, MD of Future Energy Solutions, which anticipates to have a turnover of £1m in its first full operational year, said: “This vocational training is very relevant and important at this time when plans are being put in place by energy suppliers to ensure smart meters are installed in every house by 2020. We are delighted this course will support the training of engineers from the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland.”
Neil Turner, MD of Nutech Training, said: “There is still a massive shortage of qualified smart metering engineers needed to support the Government’s plans. This agreement with Future Energy Solutions provides an opportunity for the North East to be one of the first areas in the country to see a widespread roll-out of smart meter installations.”
Coun Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “I welcome this new business and congratulate them for creating these jobs in Newcastle. Energy bills take up so much of a household’s monthly income, so it can only be a good thing if accurate information enables people to better manage their money. Smart technology has many different applications and as it becomes more widespread will play an important role in the future of our cities.”
An open day will be held at the centre on Tuesday, March 4, for anyone interested in undertaking the training.