The fund targets financial support to the UK’s coastal communities to create jobs and boost local economic growth.
Around 200 new and additional jobs will be created across the three counties through apprenticeships in the energy sector and related industries. This includes a major publicity campaign to raise awareness of future jobs and career opportunities along our energy coast.
A combined bid from the East Coast Energy Skills Partnership secured the funding, which was confirmed by the Department for Communities & Local Government today (14 August).
The partnership brings together Essex County Council, Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and Skills for Energy.
Councillor Judy Terry, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for economic development, said:
“I am absolutely delighted that we have won this funding, which will create up to 200 new or additional jobs in Suffolk and our neighbouring counties. This is a significant step forward in our ambition to maximise the economic benefits from the energy sector and is a direct result of our close working with Essex and Norfolk County Councils and the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR). At a time when we are working to address local skills shortages in some sectors, as well as improving the employability of our young people, this is extremely welcome news.”
The project will provide a grant of £2,500 to businesses taking on an apprentice in an energy sector discipline. This equates to approximately half of the minimum salary costs for a 16 to 18 year old in the first year of their apprenticeship. Businesses must demonstrate that they are increasing their apprenticeship numbers to be eligible for this funding.
Ann Steward, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for economic development, said:
"I am delighted that we have been successful in securing this funding. Securing funding for this project means we are going to be able to create 200 apprenticeship positions throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex within the low carbon energy and engineering sectors. These apprenticeships will help coastal communities to access employment within our expanding energy and engineering industry.
"Norfolk County Council is already investing £3.5 million in creating up to 400 apprenticeships jobs for young people in Norfolk and today's announcement will only further the reach of how many people and businesses that we can benefit."
Essex County Councillor Kevin Bentley, cabinet member for economic growth, waste & recycling said:
“This additional support from government is great news. One of Essex County Council’s priorities is to provide a world class skills offer to our residents which will help boost the economy. Through working with Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils, we have been able to take steps to ensure this the case in the energy sector. This is a sector which continue to grow in our region and I’m pleased that our young people will be given the chance to be a part of it.”
Celia Anderson, EEEGR’s executive director and lead for the skills for energy programme, said:
“We are delighted to hear the news. The Coastal Communities fund will benefit lots of companies in the energy sector who might previously not been able to take on apprentices. Plus the more we can do to get more local people into local jobs, especially with the energy industry expanding, the better it is for our coastal regions.”