Call to work together on “local powerhouse” as £5.5m engineering training centre misses out on government funding

Pictured is HETA CEO Iain Elliott (left) outside the new training centre with HETA Chair Ian Palmer.

The head of a leading engineering training organisation has called for businesses to create their own “local powerhouse” after welcoming employers and learners to a new £5.5m skills centre.
Iain Elliott, CEO of Humberside Engineering Training Centre (HETA), revealed that the new facility at Pioneer Business Park in Stallingborough was paid for using reserves and a bank loan in the absence of any funding or support from government.
He added that the “homegrown” nature of the project reinforced HETA’s commitment to ensure as much work as possible went to the local and regional business community.
HETA welcomed around 80 representatives of local businesses and national companies for a tour of the new centre, which is purpose-built and provides facilities for electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and fabrication and welding, with an IT suite, classrooms and meeting rooms.
He told guests: “The financial investment by HETA should not be overlooked. We did this at a time of no grant funding, no public funding. We relied on our reserves that we have built up over the years and on borrowing. Santander have again been very supportive.
“The bank and our trustees recognised that a project like this is vital for building the educational needs of the region and for the employers.”
Hull-based construction company Hobson & Porter built the new facility, adding to its wealth of experience across the Humber region supporting skills in the energy and engineering sectors.
Figures collated by HETA show that of the total build cost of £4.2m, just over £3m was for works carried out by businesses within 30 miles of the site, £3.4m was spent with businesses withing 40 miles and £3.97m with traders within 50 miles.
Just over 42 per cent of the work was carried out by trades local to Grimsby and Immingham and 37.4 per cent of work was completed by trades local to Hull.
With the addition of the land purchase price, fees and VAT the total cost of the project hit £5.5m and was on budget.
Iain said: “We were only two weeks late and we’re not too worried about that given the impact of exiting Covid and war in Ukraine, with material costs soaring and supply of materials and labour both major issues. When the learners were ready to come in, we were ready to open.”
He added that HETA is now eager to welcome other businesses to its location at the heart of North East Lincolnshire Council’s £42m South Humber Industrial Investment Programme (SHIIP) area, which is being promoted as a major industrial development opportunity.
He said: “Hopefully we will start seeing construction activity on some of the nearby sites. I really do want to see these pockets of land transformed and generating that local investment.
“People talk about the Northern Powerhouse but we need to build our own local powerhouse because the spend will stay within the area. Our figures from this project show how we used the local supply chain.”
Ian Palmer, recently appointed as chair of HETA, said the new centre itself will help to drive the local powerhouse concept.
He said: “It’s a centre that’s owned by HETA but our view is it belong to the employers and is here to serve their needs and requirements. They will be investing in young people who will be coming here for their first experience of the engineering world and hopefully that will set them up for their careers.
It’s not just about training and skills – it’s about developing individuals and maximising their potential. Our investment here is to make sure we can offer people the best experience and help them be the best they can be. None of that happens without the employers.”

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