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Minister Gregory Barker opens East Kent College's Centre for Environmental Technologies at the Broadstairs campus

By Extra reporter

The future is green for one Thanet college as it unveiled a £6.5m new building this week.

East Kent College’s Centre for Environmental Technologies was officially opened by Gregory Barker, Minister of State at the Department of Energy and Climate Change yesterday.

Mr Barker said: “The £6.5 million investment in the Centre for Environmental Technologies at East Kent College is not only great for Thanet, but a real investment in our country’s future as a world leader in green technology, and a competitor in the global race for green jobs and growth.”

Graham Razey, principal of East Kent College, with South Thanet MP Laura Sandys and Minister Gregory Barker MP.

During his visit, the minister joined a discussion on the skills needed to support growth in renewable energy and sustainable construction. Representatives from London Array, Discovery Park, Vattenfall and Cummins shared their thoughts on businesses and education working together.

Among the 100 guests attending the official opening of the centre, called the Future Building, at the college’s Broadstairs campus were local employers who toured the building and watched students demonstrate skills in carpentry, plumbing, automotive technologies, engineering, welding and renewables.

Thanet South MP Laura Sandys also took a tour of the new building.

She said: “This is a fantastic day for Thanet. East Kent College’s Centre for Environmental Technologies is a state-of-the-art facility equipping its students with the much-needed skills of the future.

“As part of, and in supporting the development of a real green hub in recent years, Thanet now plays host to a very diverse range of businesses in the sector.

“This new centre, coupled with an always forward-looking curriculum, will ensure that we have the skills to fulfil future demand, securing more investment and more jobs for our Green Grand Isle.”

Designed to be a teaching resource, the Future Building has its electrical and mechanical systems on display to enable students to see them working and understand how the building is designed.

Large open-plan workshops have the latest equipment for students of plumbing, carpentry and joinery, electronic and mechanical engineering, as well as sustainable building techniques, solar panel installation and renewable energy.

The building features roof-mounted cells for electrical power, solar thermal panels to heat water, rainwater harvesting to flush toilets and equipment to measure both energy generated and used.

And staff at East Kent College aim to provide training at The Future Building which meets local businesses’ needs and maintains strong links with relevant companies in the area.

East Kent College principal Graham Razey said: “We are extremely proud of our new building and the opportunities it offers our students.

“The Future Building will enable students to understand how traditional trades and technologies are being adapted and advanced.

“We will be delivering skills ahead of needs and thereby providing the best possible opportunity for each student’s future employment in a workplace where energy efficiency will surely be of increasing importance.”

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