University to help develop key green skills for Cornwall as part of £2m project

The development of skills needed for a future green economy is the focus of a new project involving business, innovation and engineering experts at the University of Exeter, Cornwall.

The Future is Green is a £2.2m programme targeting high-growth carbon reduction sectors of strategic importance for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, including energy and power, construction, and heating.

Offering a plethora of workshops, courses and one-to-one business support, The Future is Green will look to work with hundreds of people in the Duchy who want to learn new skills and boost their careers towards high quality, well-paid green economy jobs.

The overall project is being coordinated by The Cornwall College Group, with the University and a host of partners across the Southwest peninsula delivering different strands. Experts at Exeter will lead on a £400,000 package of work focusing on the circular economy; construction; and green energy, including integrated energy systems, such as heat pumps, and energy generation through floating offshore wind.

“The Future is Green project will proactively engage hundreds of people who are looking to develop and progress within green skills careers,” says Mary Hesling, Impact and Partnership Development Manager in Exeter Innovation. “That might include people who are unemployed and looking to enter the labour market, those that are seeking to retrain, or already skilled individuals that want to upskill within their chosen career pathway. As a collective, it promises to act as a catalyst for green skills development for more than 700 people, which is fantastic boost for these strategic sectors.”

Photos by Katie Riesner, Impact and Partnership Development Officer

The Future is Green project runs until March 2025, and has been funded through a grant from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Good Growth programme, which is managed by Cornwall Council and funded by the UK Government’s Shared Prosperity Fund.

Cllr Barbara Ellenbroek, Cornwall Council portfolio holder for children and families, said: “People and skills are a cornerstone of our Good Growth Programme, which is why we are investing to create opportunities for all. We want to invest in meeting the fast-growing needs of the green and digital economies to boost skills, jobs and the economy.”

To support the project, the University hosted an extensive introductory seminar at the Environment and Sustainability Institute on its Penryn campus. The seminar enabled people interested in these high-growth sectors to find out more about them, as well as the range of support being offered through The Future is Green. This extends to workshops, residential training courses, intensive training programmes, online and hybrid courses, and bespoke one-to-one business support.

Photos by Katie Riesner, Impact and Partnership Development Officer

Jim Grant, Head of Energy Futures and Engineering, said: “The Future is Green project, delivered in partnership with leading training providers across Cornwall, is a thrilling opportunity that places us at the heart of Cornwall’s future – a future defined by sustainability, innovation, and leadership in the journey towards decarbonization.”

“This is an exciting initiative to support skill development and career progression to drive the transition towards sustainable energy systems,” added Professor Justin Hinshelwood, Associate Professor in Renewable Energy (Engineering). “My focus will be on the built environment including building fabric, building systems, renewable energy technologies and heat pumps and we have some fantastic course offerings in this space.”

For more information, visit the University website, and to find currently bookable courses, visit Eventbrite.