Glass Futures has begun recruiting director and other senior roles for its proposed £54million Global Centre of Excellence research, development and training facility to be built at St Helens on Merseyside.

Key managerial roles including a Technical Director along with General, Innovation and Partnerships and Finance Managers, are now filled, with more positions ready to open up as part of the Phase Two jobs’ drive that will continue into 2021 and beyond.

The 158,000 sq. ft facility will be centred around a 30 tonne/day low-carbon demonstration furnace aimed to be ‘the world’s first openly accessible, multi-disciplinary glass melting facility with capability for research and development trials to demonstrate new manufacturing processes, products and approaches to improve efficiencies whilst decarbonising the glass industry and providing a world class training facility’.

The site is expected to create around 50 skilled jobs directly, along with hundreds of indirect employment opportunities.

Glass Futures general manager Aston Fuller said: “We hope to be recruiting a further five full-time members of staff to join us early in 2021 and these will be a variety of key roles around Industry 4.0, project engineering  business development, media and marketing.

“With innovation also being a key part of the Centre’s offering, there will be a huge emphasis on training and apprenticeship opportunities, so we will be looking to recruit experienced industry hands to train and inspire the next generation of leaders for the global glass industry.”

The centre, to be built on the town’s former United Glass facility, recently received further funding with a £15million investment from central government as part of UK Research and Innovation Transforming Foundation Industries Challenge .

Glass Futures is a not-for-profit membership organisation with a Board comprising of senior leaders from the global glass industry, its supply chain and academia. The facility will enable highly diverse apprenticeships and provide ‘a world beating environment to up-skill workers across the total glass supply chain’.

The government has given its Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme a year’s extension so homeowners will now have until March 2022 to claim up to £5,000 for energy saving home upgrades.

The extension overcomes one major objection that the six-month run of he original plan was too short to make full use of the £2billion on offer for up to 600,000 homes. The scheme will, as before, include replacement double and triple glazing but only in addition to principal improvements such as home insulation or low-carbon heating.

The scheme funds up to two thirds of the cost of green home improvements up to £5,000, or 100% of the cost for homeowners on low incomes, up to £10,000. Measures covered include insulation of walls, floors and roofs, double or triple glazing when replacing single glazing, and low-carbon heating like heat pumps.

The extension of the scheme, as well as the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, was announced as part of the government’s Ten-Point Plan For A Green Industrial Revolution to help reach the UK’s net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

Lord Callanan, Minister for Climate Change said:  “The Green Homes Grant scheme gives homeowners and landlords right across the country a cheaper way to make their homes more energy efficient and cut their bills – all while making their contribution to tackling climate change. (The) announcement means an extra year to take advantage of this new scheme, helping households and tradespeople who can plan their workload and create new jobs in their communities. I would urge anyone to visit the Green Homes Grants website and see how they could benefit.

Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders, Brian Berry, said: “The extension of the Green Homes Grant for another year is very positive news, and shows that builders’ concerns have been listened to. This will give the reassurance needed to the building industry to invest in the scheme. Our existing homes contribute 20% of all our carbon emissions and consume 35% of our energy.

Chief Executive of TrustMark, Simon Ayers, added: “Consumer confidence is not only essential to the recovery of the UK’s economy, but also to the protection and creation of key jobs that will support the long-term delivery of quality green home improvements.

We urge any tradespeople who want to be a part of the Green Homes Grant scheme to apply for TrustMark registration and Microgeneration Certification Scheme or Publicly Accessible Standards certification as soon as possible.”