Navitus Bay has announced the creation of £8.6 million (€12.1 million) in funding for skills and supply chain engagement as part of its commitment to maximise the benefits felt across the South Coast from the proposed offshore wind park.
The funding is part of the s.106 Agreement, negotiated with the local authorities within the project area and submitted alongside the planning application.
Local employers and training providers will have access to the £4.3 million Skills Fund. It will enable the skills and employment needs of the project – and offshore wind in the country more generally – to be met. To facilitate the distribution of funding, Navitus Bay has also set up a Skills Forum, which meets later today in Dorset. This Forum consists of representatives from local councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships, employment and skills boards, Higher and Further Education bodies, as well as representatives from Tier 1 project suppliers.
The £4.3 million Supply Chain Engagement Fund will be used to promote and support supply chain opportunities for local businesses in the area. Navitus Bay has engaged extensively with the local business community to ensure that the economic benefits of the project are felt across the region. The announcement follows on from the highly successful ‘Meet the Buyer’ event at SeaWork 2015 in Southampton in June. This provided over 100 local businesses with a chance to find more about supply chain opportunities and meet MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, the preferred turbine supplier.
The funding agreed as part of the s106 Agreement will be made fully available if the project achieves development consent, due to be announced in September.
Mike Unsworth, Project Director of Navitus Bay, said: “Navitus Bay is committed to ensuring that the economic benefits of the project are felt across the South Coast. This includes opening up supply chain opportunities to the local business community and ensuring that the skills and training needed to ensure job creation are provided. The creation of £8.6 million in funding will ensure that these opportunities are maximised and that the local authorities, employment bodies and business representatives can be involved in the process.”
Chris Brammall, Economic Development Project Officer, Isle of Wight Council, added: “For the region to gain maximum economic benefit from this exciting project, it is vital that the necessary skills are in place. Navitus Bay working with their partners in the Skills Forum will ensure that this is the case.”