Funding cash will kickstart projects on Grimsby Docks
TRAINING programmes and infrastructure projects on Grimsby Docks will be among the first schemes rolled out as part of a £10-million package to support the Humber's renewable energy sector.
As reported in yesterday's Grimsby Telegraph, the area has secured a total of £30 million through round three of the Government's Regional Growth Fund (RGF) programme, with the other £20 million being targeted at other key sectors on both banks of the Humber.
Bosses at North East Lincolnshire Council, which submitted the bid in partnership with the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), are aiming to have the first projects up and running by February of next year.
Jason Longhurst, pictured, the council's head of development, said securing the investment would enable Grimsby to become the UK's leading centre for offshore wind operations and maintenance (O&M), creating hundreds of highly-skilled and well-paid engineering jobs.
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"The renewables package will involve targeting funding into key infrastructure projects, attracting major companies to the area, and reskilling the workforce," he said.
"There are some really good career prospects in this industry. People who enter the profession will within two or three years be able to progress and become very highly-skilled in that work."
Mr Longhurst said £20 million of the funding would be used for a business expansion programme to support other key sectors on both banks of the Humber, such as food, logistics and digital.
Although disappointed that a second NELC bid, put together with the Greater Lincolnshire LEP to support Grimsby's food processing industry was unsuccessful, he insisted that the Government now had a clearer picture of the town's potential as a major food cluster.
He said: "We are in a stronger position at the end of this process and we will continue to focus our efforts on growing this very important sector."
Two other bids – one for Vireol's proposed biofuel plant at Moody Lane, and another for Grimsby Town Football Club's new stadium – also failed to secure funding.
However, with just 130 out of the 414 bids being successful, Mr Longurst believes the area has done well to secure £30-million out of the £50 million it had pitched in for.
"This was a national call for £1-billion in funding and a lot of good schemes did not get anything, so for us to win even one bid is fantastic. It shows that we have gone from being at the back of the queue to near the front."
John Fenty, director of Grimsby Town Football Club, said: "I'm very disappointed that the football club's bid has not been successful. It will not stop the project going ahead but it will affect the plans that we had for the design and scale of the stadium."