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The Humber LEP’s Employment and Skills Board is leading a collaborative project between employers, the University of Hull, FE colleges and specialist training providers, known as the Humber Energy Skills Campus, to build on the region’s expertise and become a centre of excellence for energy skills.

The Energy Skills Campus is a virtual ‘campus’ that aims to enable the creation of a sustainable skilled workforce that will maximise the Humber’s economic development in the energy industry.

At its quarterly meeting on Wednesday, July 24, at CATCH in Stallingborough, the group welcomed Dr Fiona Earle of the University of Hull, who spoke about the work of the newly-formed Centre for Human Factors, as well as the Humber LEP’s Energy Strategy Manager, Richard Royal, who discussed the upcoming Energy and Clean Growth Conference and draft Humber Energy Strategy.

Fay Treloar, University of Hull Director of Business Engagement, attended with Dr Earle and spoke about the direct links between the research that the Human Factor Team are looking at and its potential impact on improving business practices throughout the industry

Dr Earle’s core team of five will be working within the Faculty of Health Sciences  at the University, working on assessing stressors in work settings, examining the stressors facing workers in various sectors, and working on both solutions to problems and practical steps employers can take to reduce these stressors for their workforce.

Discussing her work with the campus, Dr Earle said: “The essence of our work is examining stressor and strains in the workplace, by understanding what is challenging or difficult for employees.

“For example in the energy sector, stressors can include a high workload, or motion sickness while working at sea, working in very hot conditions, or dealing with difficult or unpredictable shift patterns.

“We can then design a bespoke approach to these stressors – through understanding the challenges, and can in turn provide information, interventions or feedback to employers – mitigating stressors and supporting workers.”

In terms of the energy sector, Dr Earle discussed two projects the team is working on to identify and assess strains on employees. The first example was SPOWTT – working with partners including Siemens Gamesa – which examined the working conditions of CTV workers employed in the offshore wind sector – and looked at the impact of the boat crossings on the employees.

Secondly, the team also studied fatigue in the offshore wind sector, with Orsted, examining the sleep patterns of workers who stay out at sea both while on shift and while off shift, to examine what interventions could be made to minimise fatigue while out at sea.

Dr Earle explained that the project could have many solutions for a variety of health and wellbeing issues within the energy sector, and could be transferred to other industries, to build on best practise.

With the project also being based within the wider faculty at the University of Hull, the team can draw on the expertise of other staff members on projects, including Aura. While the project is still in its early stages, the industry-led work the team are undertaking could build a long-term strategy and they are set to confirm the future focus of their work in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the Humber LEP’s Energy lead, Richard Royal, then presented a talk to the group on the upcoming Energy and Clean Growth in the Northern Powerhouse Conference scheduled for November.

Mr Royal spoke about the conference, which will take place at Hull’s Bonus Arena on November 5 – 7, which the Humber LEP are organising on behalf of the other 10 Northern Powerhouse LEPs across the north of England.

He discussed the main events of the conference, including a gala dinner at Hull Minster and a drinks reception hosted by The Bondholders as they also hold a screening of their ‘The Waterline’ project film.

The conference will focus on three different topics:

Day 1 – Energy Innovation in the Northern Powerhouse

Day 2 – Energy Economics in the Northern Powerhouse

Day 3 – Energy Strategy in the Northern Powerhouse

The conference will include a programme of speakers in the main conference room each day, alongside workshops taking place in several breakout rooms and an exhibition hall featuring over 70 different stands.

Anyone who wished to take part, hire an exhibition stand, suggest a speaker or would like to order tickets was encouraged to get in touch before all the spaces were filled up.

If you would like any further information on the Energy and Clean Growth in the Northern Powerhouse conference, visit https://npenergyconference.com/.