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Can Shale Gas drilling become the first provider of ‘Green’ apprenticeships?

Can Shale Gas drilling become the first provider of ‘Green’ apprenticeships?

Last week the Select committee on Apprenticeships discussed the lack of ‘green energy’ apprenticeships – In the wake of current Shale Gas discoveries in Sheffield and Blackpool which could offer a cleaner alternative to North Sea Oil we could be on the verge of new apprenticeships.

The discovery of Shale Gas in Blackpool has both intrigued policy makers and caused fear amongst environmental campaign groups. In the U.S. Shale Gas has come to epitomise both environmentalist fears and the possibility of helping engineering apprenticeships succeed.

The main issue is the production technique: with Shale gas being a new style of drilling it requires a new style of training.

The House of Commons Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee on Apprenticeships raised this in February 2012 arguing that

“green energy like solar, hydro and wind will have to incorporate hydraulic fracturing technologies (the technical name of Shale gas drilling) into any new ‘green’ apprenticeship [frameworks] which can help both the British economy and improve energy security.”

The test now lies with companies like Cuadrilla, who are operating the licenced Shale drilling exploration in Blackpool, to fund more apprenticeships in this growing and important field of engineering. The company has announced its intention to recruit and train more ‘specialised’ apprenticeships and thus develop a specific apprenticeship ‘framework’ which can help support further exploration and training in this new fields of apprenticeship training.

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