Training centre towers over riverside

EXCELLENCE ... the new training centre promises first-class facilities.
EXCELLENCE ... the new training centre promises first-class facilities.

A NEW training facility for employees in the wind energy sector now towers over the South Shields riverside.

Safety Technology, a leading provider of safety training, has officially opened a new 18-metre training tower at the Marine Training Centre in Wapping Street.

Trainees at the new Centre of Excellence for Renewable Safety’ will be able to encounter real-life wind turbine rescue and evacuation scenarios, as well as experiencing the harsh and turbulent conditions of working offshore.

The facilities contain a four metre deep environmental pool used for offshore survival training.

It also incorporates an indoor climbing room, fully-equipped classrooms, and hub rescue and fire-fighting units.

Working in collaboration with South Tyneside College, Safety Technology has combined its experience and knowledge of the safety requirements of working at heights in the wind energy sector with the college’s expertise in marine safety, to offer a full range of onshore and offshore safety courses.

Bob Dickens, managing director at Safety Technology, said: “We are very pleased to have formed this partnership with the college to establish such world-class facilities in the North East.

“The location is very important to us, given the planned future development in the region and the opportunity to service the huge growth in offshore renewable energy, the Government Catapult programme, and the potential for job creation in the supply chain.”

The new development has not been without its critics.

The planning application raised the hackles of people living a short distance away in Greens Place.

Homeowners in the close-knit community joined forces in an unsuccessful bid to prevent the structure getting the go-ahead, after labelling it a “blot on the landscape”.

One of the objectors was Thelma Musgrave, who told the Gazette last December: “Whoever is training on this structure would be able to look straight into our flats, and it will also block our views and spoil the appearance of the riverside.”

Safety Technology was established in 2002 as a supplier of safety equipment and training for working at heights in the utilities and telecoms industries.

As the wind industry grew, the company was quick to recognise the need for skilled workers in this emerging sector, and began to develop a range of safety courses for the industry.

Last year, the company began working with South Tyneside College to offer a range of offshore safety courses.