Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Hydrogen Training Academy has been highly commended as the ‘Sustainability Project of the Year’ at the 2023 Business Eye Sustainability Awards.
Over 300 business leaders attended the inaugural sustainability awards at the Culloden Estate & Spa, where a range of organisations and projects were recognised for their commitment to sustainability across 12 different award categories.
The Hydrogen Training Academy was highly commended for best exemplifying the wider sustainability and net zero targets of Northern Ireland as a whole.
Launched in February 2022, the Hydrogen Training Academy is the result of a public-private investment of £750,000 from the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, the Department for Communities Covid-Revitalisation Fund, the Labour Market Partnership and EP UK Investments, which will ultimately help to upskill the workforce to meet future requirements.
The initiative is led by Council in collaboration with key delivery partners Belfast Metropolitan College, Northern Regional College, the University of Birmingham, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University.
A consortium of key industry players also involved includes Ballymena-based Wrightbus, developer of the world’s first hydrogen bus; renewable energy and technology firm Energia; public-transport provider Translink; natural gas supplier Firmus; EP UK Investments, owners of the Kilroot and Ballylumford Power Stations; and green energy supplier B9 Energy.
To date over 181 organisations have engaged in the initiative, with 178 individuals due to have been trained by the end of this month.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Alderman Noel Williams said: “This is tremendous and fitting recognition for what really is an outstanding example of collaboration between Council, its key delivery partners and a range of key industry players – all of whom bring something hugely valuable and important to the mix.
“What has been achieved through this initiative within just one year is exceptional, with the pilot HTA partnership now confirmed to have exceeded the objectives that were set at project concept.
“This important work complements and further enhances the achievements of several other innovative initiatives led by Council’s Manufacturing Task Force and bodes very well for the future, as we strive to cement Mid and East Antrim’s position as a springboard for the burgeoning cleantech sector in Northern Ireland.
“On behalf of Council, I extended my warmest congratulations and thanks to all those involved in this superb initiative. I look forward to seeing the Hydrogen Training Academy flourish in the coming years, and to seeing its wide-ranging benefits realised not only be those directly involved, but by the wider Northern Ireland economy.”