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Ecotricity and SGS College join forces to push for Eco Park

The consultation process for the recently announced Eco Park development has led to a link-up between Ecotricity and SGS College – with the two organisations identifying major synergies in the project that will have important benefits for Stroud District. 

Ecotricity announced the 100 acre plan Eco Park development in July – half of the site will be dedicated to a green technology business park capable of supporting up to 4,000 new jobs, while the other half will be a state-of-the-art sporting facility and sports science hub.

Meanwhile, SGS has begun the first phase of an anticipated £26m redevelopment of the former Berkeley Laboratories, transforming it into a state-of-the-art Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear (GREEN) campus focusing on the training of the next generation of engineers and construction professionals with an emphasis on low-carbon energy generation.

Ecotricity and SGS pinpointed two major synergies:

• SGS’s Advanced Engineering and Environmental Research Centre at GREEN will produce hundreds of graduates each year – while Eco Park will attract green technology businesses, supplying the skilled jobs those graduates need
• Eco Park’s plans for a Centre of Excellence in sports science will provide SGS with the facilities not currently in Stroud to educate and train the next generation of sports industry professionals – a sector worth £24 billion to the UK economy

SGS College principal Kevin Hamblin said: “It’s still early days, but we believe there is a natural synergy between our two visions. Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership, GFirst, has identified a skills and training gap in low carbon construction engineering, and SGS College have just begun work on our new GREEN project in Berkeley.

"We’ll be producing scientists, engineers and technology graduates for the low-carbon sectors, which are the kinds of people that the businesses at Eco Park will be looking to recruit.”

“There is an absolute need for a development like Eco Park in Stroud to augment the work we are doing at SGS and it would present an opportunity us to work with employers and develop our course offering to meet increasing real-life demands of companies in engineering, low carbon, technology, science, sports, leisure, tourism and sports media.”

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “This is a really exciting and perfect example of the kind of collaboration that we hope to see happening between different organisations at Eco Park.   

“Eco Park will itself bring huge benefits to Stroud, whether it’s providing a leading sports centre for the area or opening up the missing mile for canal – but it is this kind of synergy between organisations that will really enhance the opportunities Eco Park will bring.

“Half of Eco Park will form a green business hub, plugging Stroud firmly into the growing green economy, an economy that already employs over one million people in Britain – and SGS will be training exactly the kind of skilled people at their GREEN centre that will be needed.

“At the same time, as a centre for sports science and sporting facilities for the county, Eco Park will provide the cutting edge facilities that the college needs, but doesn't currently have in Stroud, to train sports industry professionals.”