HARTLEPOOL will lead a bid to fill 120,000 jobs in the next six years, the Mail can reveal.
But these are not new jobs as it is Hartlepool’s bid to replace the massive gap created by thousands of older workers going into retirement.
Hartlepool College of Further Education has announced plans to lead the way in a process called Replacement Demand.
Experts predict that, as the older generation of workers retires in the North-East, thousands of jobs in construction and engineering will become available by 2020.
To fill the places, the college has signed up to scheme called the Tees Valley Economic Regional Strategy which aims to plug the shortfall in specialists working in important industries.
The college is ideally placed because it runs courses in sectors where industry has identified shortages, said the new principal Darren Hankey, in an exclusive interview with the Hartlepool Mail.
He revealed: “It is not necessarily new jobs, but if you take construction and engineering, by the time 2020 comes there will be 120,000 people who won’t be working in that sector because they will be retired.
“Our curriculum is geared up to making students aware of the opportunities to step in.”
But that’s not the only area where the college is ready to pounce.
It is also running courses to make sure Hartlepool has every job-type needed in the renewable energy sector.
Mr Hankey said the town was working with Tees Valley Unlimited “to ensure there is a broad range of students in areas such as advanced manufacturing, the digital industry, low carbon technology”.
He added: “It is key that we are well positioned to make sure our curriculum is aligned to the best priorities.”
Mr Hankey said Hartlepool could lead the way in wind energy because it is close to Dogger Bank – the wind farm which is predicted to be the next big development area.
If fully developed, the 8,000 square kilometre area of the North Sea could contain more than 2,000 wind turbine generators and provide 13 gigawatts of electricity, which is 10 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements.
Mr Hankey added: “Hartlepool is perfectly based for Dogger Bank and we are trying to gear up the facilities and curriculum to meet the long-term economic needs.”