HEATING experts in Blackburn have unveiled blueprints to bring their national training centre to the town.

Bosses at Vital Energi, in Roman Road, have identified a portion of their site to devote to developing their workforce for years to come.

District heating schemes are a relatively new addition to the UK heating market, according to the company.

While the concept is popular in Scandinavia and other parts of mainland Europe, the pioneering nature of their work has left the firm with an issue.

Reece Roberts, for Vital, told planners: “There is therefore a limited resource pool of suitably qualified and experienced staff available for recruitment without casting the net beyond the UK’s shores.

“Vital Energi have identified that their continued growth could be at risk from this limited pool of resources, and have concluded that the best resolution to this threat is to train and develop their own staff and to create a ‘Centre of Excellence’ for the district heating industry.”

Mr Roberts said the centre’s location had been the subject of some debate internally, with the options of refurbishing an existing facility or building a new standalone building being considered and dismissed. This led to the chosen route, a single-storey structure at the front of Century House being demolished so a new two-floor centre can be erected.

Mr Roberts added: “The building is one of the oldest on the site, is in poor condition and is currently only used for storage of furniture and equipment. The redevelopment of this area has the advantage of creating the space and facilities required whilst also improving the appearance of the site entrance.”

Established for more than 30 years and with offices also in London, Vital has notched up some notable successes in recent years. Their heating schemes have been installed in projects ranging from the athlete’s village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, to St Andrew’s University, the city of Nottingham and the London borough of Southwark.

Such performance has seen them crack Investec Wealth Management’s Hot 100 fastest growing private firms and be named among Business Week’s Fastest 50 List.

Mr Roberts added: “(We) have, for many years, exercised a graduate intake program that has brought some of the UK universities best graduates into the company. This training and demonstration facility will add to that programme by providing training and employment opportunities to the local community in both white collar and blue collar roles.”