A NEW £800,000 programme will be launched by Freeport East to support small businesses and help get young people into green energy jobs.

Freeport East, which includes Harwich and Felixstowe ports, was launched to boost global trade following Brexit thanks to tax reliefs and simplified customs procedures for the area.

Youngsters from north Essex will now be able to get support at Suffolk New College’s Net Zero Skills Centre in Ipswich, which is training the next generation for careers in green energy.

Support will be split into two areas, including the Freeport East Clean Growth Fund.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard: Freeport East announces new £800k support programme to boost green energy skills and innovationFreeport East announces new £800k support programme to boost green energy skills and innovation (Image: Steve Brading)

The fund is aimed at providing financial help to local businesses working in clean energy and Freeport East’s target sectors.

The Freeport East Innovation and Skills Fund will have a specific focus on communities that lack support and will enhance existing facilities and services provided by innovation centres, universities, colleges and local training centres and their connections to businesses.

The Freeport East Innovation and Skills Fund will also help meet the growing demand for a green energy workforce in the region.

This could go towards improvements such as new facilities or services that train and up-skill.

Steve Beel, chief executive of Freeport East, said: “A core element of what we have been set up to do is to boost skills and innovation particularly in supporting emerging clean energy sectors such as green hydrogen.

"By supporting local talent through our new growth funds, we hope to build on an already vibrant ecosystem that fosters local and national economic growth, and long-term success.

“The East of England is a thriving green cluster but we need to link opportunities into harder-to-reach areas of our local communities.

"Ensuring that we encourage collaboration within the energy industry and other growth sectors, while supporting new local innovators and getting people into jobs will be critical.”

The funds aim to have an impact within the Freeport East region, which extends from the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich in the east, stretching to Colchester, Jaywick and Clacton.


Those interested in applying can contact Freeport East to express interest during July and August before the programme kicks off in September. Go to freeporteast.com.