A STATE of the art training academy has opened at Sharp in Llay.

The renewable energy academy aims to train up to 50 people a month in solar panel installation skills.

Those eligible to do the training include electricians, roofers, building contractors and heating engineers.

The new academy follows the recent announcement that 300 new jobs have been created at the site through a £35m expansion.

Plant manager Stephen Crewe told the Leader that the solar panel business was going so well that Sharp would consider expanding in the future.

“There is a 16 acre site we could have to move onto,” he said.

“I think we have a promising future because there is so much more demand for solar energy.

“Since 2004 we have received £25 million investment in solar manufacturing.”

He added the academy on site was one of the few of its kind in the UK to provide short courses in solar panel installation.

The factory now works on a 24/7 basis and by March the workforce will be able to produce 9,000 solar panels each day.

Wrexham MP and shadow business minister Ian Lucas said: “In Wrexham we are very proud to be the hub of Sharp’s European solar production.

“The opening of the academy, following the recent announcement of the doubling of the plant’s capacity is tremendous news.

“Wrexham is the base for cutting-edge innovation and skills and we are grateful for Sharp’s continuing investment in our town and people.”

The Sharp academy offers a range of training courses from a one day awareness course to a five day solar panel installation training programme.

The courses provide a blend of classroom discussion and hands on installation experience on simulated rooftops.

- SHARP Solar is offering one Wrexham local and five nationwide professional tradespeople the chance to win a free place on an academy course.

To enter all you have to do is explain in no more than 100 words why you deserve a free place at the academy.

For more details go to www.sharpmanufacturing.co.uk.