Update: Great Yarmouth firm gearing up for jobs boom
14:22 05 February 2014
Archant Norfolk © 2014
A Great Yarmouth offshore firm is rapidly expanding its training academy as it gears up for a “huge growth in demand over the next decade”.
Since buying out Eastern Training Services two years ago, 3sun Group has moved its operation from Leiston in Suffolk to its company headquarters in Boundary Road, Great Yarmouth.
In the past year the number of students passing through the rebranded 3Sun Academy has increased from 30 to more than 200.
And to meet the evolving needs of offshore work and further anticipated growth, the academy is about to invest a further £350,000 in new classrooms and engineering equipment.
James Hall, operations manager at the academy, which is approved to deliver engineering construction industry training board qualifications, said: “Many training academies are based in Aberdeen but we see huge demand coming up over the next 10 years in this area with the growth of offshore wind and the continuing needs of oil and gas.
“In fact, the demand for technical training in Yarmouth has gone crazy just in the past 12 months.”
Since moving to Yarmouth last year the academy, a separate arm of 3sun Group, has grown its turnover from £150,000 to £500,000.
Mr Hall, who has director-level experience in both the construction and offshore industry, said company manager-director Graham Hacon had grown up in the borough and was proud to have established a training base in Yarmouth.
“As a company we spend close to £1m a year in training our own staff to an exceptionally high standard but two-thirds of the academy business is external training.”
Mr Hall said the energy industry was still facing a “huge skills shortage” and the only way forward was for the academy to work alongside the local colleges with East of England Energy Group’s planned £11m energy skills centre being at the hub.
He said: “What is catching people out is that industry growth might be flatlining at the moment but it is set to go vertical. Windfarm projects will be taking off and building the Sizewell C power station will take a lot of engineers away.”
He said the academy taught a broad range of skills so engineers could meet a variety of needs wherever and whenever they arose, from design through to construction and maintenance.
3Sun Group has seen its turnover rise from £2.4m in 2010 to more than £13m last year and Mr Hall said: “I can see Yarmouth going full circle back to its 1980s heyday provided there are the right business people, like Mr Hacon and Blair Ainslie of Seajacks, driving it forward.”
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