skip to main content

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) is celebrating the opening of the East Anglia Energy Academy in St Ives, which will bring forward new jobs, skills and investment into the district.

The East Anglia Energy Academy, a joint venture between Reed Environment and Oxford Energy Academies (OEA), a leading provider of energy training courses, aims to attract more young people onto the trades skills career path and encourage established tradespeople to upskill, with a focus on renewable energy.

The council’s Invest in Huntingdonshire team has worked with Reed Environment over the last six months to identify a suitable site for their second national academy to help assess and retrofit social housing stock. Reed Environment’s ambition is to become the largest network of green skills training providers in the UK to support an enabled workforce with the skills they need to thrive in the transition to the green economy.

The Invest in Huntingdonshire team conducted a property site search, provided an overview of the local trades and economy that would help identify and support the enrolment of local business owners to sign up to training at the new Academy.

The support the team provided enabled Reed Environment to win significant local contracts that accelerated their timeline. As a result, the Academy will support 150 apprentices and 400 adult learners by September 2025.

Located in St Ives, with easy access to the M11 corridor and out to Suffolk and Norwich, the state-of-the-art new skills centre will offer a wide range of training courses, assessments, and qualifications across gas, electrical, plumbing, oil, and renewable energy skills.

Cllr Sam Wakeford, Executive Councillor for Jobs, Economy and  Housing  at Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "We are delighted to welcome Oxford Energy Academies to Huntingdonshire – here in a highly accessible location, central to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region, with great transport corridors North-South and East-West, including into Suffolk and Norfolk.

"We have worked closely with Reed Environment to make this investment happen, and this new academy demonstrates our commitment to fostering forward-thinking economic development in practice. This will help give local people a route into high quality jobs with growing opportunities, and also provide the skills our economy needs for our houses and businesses to make the transition to net zero. This protects our environment for the future, while also reducing our energy costs and making homes more comfortable to live in for today."

Cllr Lara Davenport-Ray, Executive Councillor for Climate and Environment at Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "Many local people tell me they want to upgrade the heating and electricity in their home. But, without trained local tradespeople in retrofit technology, progress stalls. With accessible training academies, like this Energy Academy, we bridge the gap between demand and expertise. This collaboration between public and private sectors not only empowers workforces for present and future needs but also supports our local economy."

Nykki Rogers, Economic Development Manager at Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "This is a phenomenal investment success, not just for Huntingdonshire but for entire East of England. The council’s Joint Administration has been clear that our team focuses on delivering the strategic priorities of the green economy and carbon reduction. This investment is a testament to our approach to partnership working and we’re delighted to have supported Reed with this multi-million pound investment creating new jobs and a new knowledge centre for the district."

Russell Marchant, Strategic Business Development Manager, Reed Environment, said: "The team at Huntingdonshire District Council has provided us with, what can only be described as, a first-class customer service since our initial engagement.

"They have demonstrated the true meaning of a collaborative approach, and we now have, undoubtedly, one of our strongest relationships with a District Council. They helped us with finding a suitable site, have supported our engagement with local stakeholders, made key introductions, and always willing to support wherever they can.

"The team are a credit to the council and their approach in supporting the district is to be applauded. This is one of the most proactive Economic Development Teams I have had the pleasure of working with.

"We know the relationship will only go from strength to strength. HDC, in particular the Economic Development Team, are a key partnership for us. We cannot thank them enough for the way they have welcomed us to the community. Their motto should be 'Alone we might, together we will!'"

Image of Councillor Sam Wakeford, Councillor Lara Davenport Ray, Russell Marchant (Strategic Business Development Manager, Reed Environment) and Michelle Sacks (Chief Executive, Huntingdonshire District Council
L-R: Cllr Sam Wakeford, Cllr Lara Davenport-Ray, Russell Marchant (Strategic Business Development Manager, Reed Environment) and Michelle Sacks (Chief Executive, Huntingdonshire District Council)