Skills for Net-Zero Carbon

Project overview

The Skills for Net-Zero Carbon project builds on the successful SDF Pilot which saw the engagement of employers to inform the design and delivery of new courses and qualifications related to their current and emerging skills needs linked to the opportunities and challenges presented by the shift to low/net-zero carbon. We created a hub-and-spoke network of industry-standard training and demonstrator facilities across Lancashire.

The Skills for Net-Zero project went further, in response to employer-feedback and the findings of the LSIP Pathfinder, covering a wider range of technologies and skills needs across Lancashire. It focused on sectors and industries impacted by the drive to low/net-zero carbon, from sustainable energy production to construction and retrofit, building the network of specialist provision designed by businesses.

Delivery partnership

Skills for Net-Zero Carbon was led by Preston College working with Blackburn College, Blackpool and The Fylde College, Lancaster and Morecambe College, Myerscough College, Nelson and Colne Colleges Group and West Lancashire College.


Project aims

We developed new networks for business, building on the success of those developed through our SDF Pilot. We ensured our staff were able to develop their skills and knowledge of new technologies, developed and delivered new curriculum to thousands of students and worked with local schools to help young people better understand the career opportunities.

In sustainable energy we extended our reach to include solar, thermal and wind turbine installation and technologies. Blackburn College established a new SME/self-employed network for installers to provide updates on the latest industry developments, technology and training opportunities and to inform the development of a range of short courses which provide training in the installation of solar PV, solar thermal and wind turbine power generation in domestic settings.

Lancaster and Morecambe College, Blackpool and the Fylde College and West Lancashire College each developed retrofit training and demonstrator centres showcasing all aspects of energy saving technologies and retrofit systems. These facilities are used as a showcase to attract interest from local SMEs and sole traders, allowing them to work with employers across the west of the county and beyond. They developed and delivered bespoke courses in e.g. solar and heat source installation, upskilling the existing trades workforce as well as creating a pipeline of students who are trained in industry-standard facilities.

Preston College focused on enhancing provision of SMART Technologies in Building Services Engineering through targeted investment to extend this new area of provision, ensuring that employers and individuals have best access to the skills and knowledge required by Industry.

Blackburn College built on their motor vehicle facilities, funded via the SDF Pilot. Feedback from dealerships and the new Independent Garage Network has indicated a demand for technical training and support on hydrogen vehicles as well as that which is now available on electric vehicles as a result of the Pilot. By building hydrogen vehicle technology into their existing centre the college are leading the way in developing curriculum and delivering short courses, sharing their learning with other colleges and providing staff CPD. Preston College have learnt from Blackburn’s experience through the Pilot and extended and updated their own motor vehicle provision to include electric vehicles with a specific focus on light and heavy goods vehicles which have not been a focus to-date.

As a specialist land-based college Myerscough focused on sustainable energy solutions for the food and farming sector, adding a robotic dairy parlour to the demonstrator equipment purchased through the SDF Pilot. This is an area of technology that has been highlighted as a priority by the new Lancashire Farmers Network as through its use they can reduce inputs, improve animal welfare, use less antibiotics, reduce milk wastage and reduce carbon outputs. The equipment is accessed by farmers as a demonstrator and training facility and also used by agricultural engineering and farming students and staff to help with training and knowledge transfer.

Nelson and Colne College Group have enhanced their low carbon advanced manufacturing skills hub which incorporates a virtual reality innovation demonstration facility. They have worked with businesses to identify additional opportunities for this technology to support sustainable ways of delivering training, extending its reach with employers and making it accessible to a wider student-base across Lancashire.


By 2025 we will have consulted with 160 employers and delivered 400+ hours of Industry Placements to staff, benefitting 2000+ learners who will also have accessed industry-standard equipment.  We will have developed 4 new very-short courses, responding to business need and started 800+ learners on those courses and also have worked with 2000+ school students, raising awareness of careers and pathways.

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