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Cath Everett

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Green jobs for the Welsh valleys

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British Gas has opened a green skills training centre in South Wales, with the aim of equipping 1,300 local long-term unemployed and its own engineers with the necessary expertise to handle the emerging technology.
 

The centre, which was opened by Carwyn Jones, First Minister of the Welsh Assembly Government, is based in Tredegar in the Heads of the Valleys area – an unemployment black spot. It currently has the lowest employment rate in Wales at 64% compared with a national average of 71%.
 
Gearoid Lane, British Gas’ managing director of Communities and New Energy, said: “This fantastic new facility is a blueprint for British Gas’ wider ambition to be the hub around which communities benefit from up-skilling, green living and improvements in household comfort and energy affordability.”
 
The firm was also further investing in the emergent green sector by creating thousands of smart meter and insulation engineer posts, he added.
 
The Centre was developed in partnership with the Welsh Assembly Government, JobMatch, Jobcentre Plus, SummitSkills and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council. It will provide training and qualifications for people wishing to become energy-efficiency assessors and installers of new green technologies, but will also boost the skills of British Gas’ own engineers.
 
First Minister Jones said: “The British Gas Green Skills Training Centre presents an excellent opportunity to support Wales’ green energy potential. Earlier this year, we launched our Green Jobs Strategy for Wales, which aims to develop skilled jobs for local people and the centre will play an important role in helping to achieve this.”
 
The Centre is equipped with fully functioning heating installations as well as energy-efficient and micro-generation technologies housed in specially designed bungalows to enable trainees to gain hands-on experience.
 

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