Author: EuanC

More than 1,000 students benefit from Gateway to Skills programme

CEME is proud to have delivered the Gateway to Skills programme, which has kindly been sponsored by SEGRO, and supported by SEGRO volunteers. 

Our new Gateway to Skills Impact Report sets out the key findings and results from the programme, delivered between March 2022 and July 2023. We have been working with more than 1,000 students in Havering, Barking and Dagenham and Newham through our Gateway to Skills STEM day.

Many of the new jobs set to be created within our boroughs will be in engineering, construction, technology and manufacturing, which is why it is important to support impactful STEM learning and engagement in our schools, and ensure our young people understand the career opportunities and pathways open to them. 

The CEME Gateway to Skills initiative was relaunched at the end of March 2022, sponsored by SEGRO, to give local secondary school students aged between 12 and 15 access to first-class training and equipment to develop their STEM skills. 

The aim of this initiative is to complement the national curriculum by bringing STEM learning to school students in a fun, interactive and engaging way, encouraging our young people to follow pathways into STEM careers. 

We work with professional STEM tutors to bring an exciting and hands-on experience to students, which includes a range of fun activities including the designing, building, and testing of crash proof and robotic vehicles, wind turbines, bridges, and a Mars landing rover. STEM days are held at our East London innovation campus during term time, providing a new and fun environment for learning outside of the school setting.

Find out more at

Sharing best practice with the Netherlands

We were delighted to recently welcome to our campus a large delegation from the Knowledge Alliance for Business Parks in the Netherlands (SKBN).

The SKBN is a network of public, semi public and private partners, striving to create a sufficient, efficient and sustainable work landscape for business spaces across the Netherlands, contributing to an economically strong country.

Their trip to London this month took in a number of key sites across East London, including the London Centre to meet with the NLA (New London Architecture) and the GLA (Greater London Authority) to discuss industrial land development across London.  This included a tour of the new film studio developments in Barking and Dagenham, showcasing an innovative, stacked industrial development.

A visit to CEME was next on their list, and they were keen to hear about CEME’s new strategy acting as a catalyst for economic regeneration, accelerator for green tech businesses, and a champion for inclusive business growth. The developments across our region, and our ambition to become net zero, were a big focus for the group, as well as how we are tackling the development of new green skills to support growth.

We gave the delegation a tour of our campus, and Noorzaman Rashid (CEO), and Tracey Wright (Director of Skills Development and Engagement) presented them with an excellent overview of the workings of the campus, and explored how our partnerships, business support programmes, skills and community development work is integral to prosperity for our region.

We invited the team from our long-standing tenants FusionBlu, showcasing the ability to reduce emissions by up to 80 per cent in vehicles and generators, and how CEME are supporting their business growth and development.

We were also joined by Marta Oliveira, associate at Ikigai Capital, to present how a Hydrogen ecosystem is being created in the South East, supporting the UK’s mission to become net zero by 2050.  

With CEME campus confirmed as the venue for a Hydrogen Living Lab, Marta discussed the Living Lab concept – providing a hub for next generation research and development of hydrogen technologies and the opportunities this would open in our region for green innovation and business growth.

A great visit was enjoyed by all, and it was a brilliant opportunity to share ideas supporting both the UK and the Netherlands on becoming more sustainable and better prepared for the challenges and opportunities of the green and digital transitions.

Inspiring a new generation at CEME campus

CEME campus welcomed a group of university students to discuss marketing strategies and challenges for the future. 

The event, which included topics on innovation, health and smart nutrition, was hosted by Perez Ochieng of food innovation company Sacoma and included a visit from Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja and his team.

Sacoma, founded by Perez and Sam Ochieng, has operations in the UK and Africa and aims to drive positive change in the food supply chain.

We were also joined by Isaac Angbore, a Year 12 student at Dagenham Park Church of England School, who attended for the experience.

J Wainaina, Science teacher at Isaac’s school, said: “Research and development, science and Innovation cannot be advanced without involving students as the future disruptive innovators of solutions to global problems.

“Isaac and I had discussions which showed there is a gap on how we are preparing students to become innovators, and we need more STEM emphasis at a young age to introduce possible opportunities and careers in the future. 

“I took away the need for schools to work closely with organisations like CEME to give this growth edge to the young people to whom the global village phenomenon is a reality. The future is in their hands.”

Noorzaman Rashid, Chief Executive at CEME, said: “It was a delight for me to personally welcome Isaac to the CEME campus. I look forward to his next visit and hopefully he’ll bring some friends too.”

Isaac has written an article about his day at CEME, and the inspiration this gave him for his future. 

My day at CEME by Isaac Angbore

Isaac Angbore joins CEME CEO Noorzaman Rashid on campus

At the end of the bus line, is where my day at CEME began. Automatic sliding doors entertained me into the glass building, not before noticing the array of intricately East-facing solar panels on top of the roof. After a brief but welcoming “good morning”, I set away down the spacious hallway, paralleled by the brisk walk of focused individuals. Only hearing the silent noise of hardworking people around me, I knew this compound was a catalyst for the diligent and persevering, who had the leisure of tailoring their work styles to suit them. However, I will soon learn that my premise of these premises promises so much more.

My wonderfully kind science teacher offered to book me into the event due to my interest in engineering and we sat in the waiting area discussing different scientific ideas, such as: the accumulation of heavy metals inside tea and their leaves, and progress within the internal combustion engine field.

We branched and digressed as passionate scientific peers do in conversation, eventually stumbling upon innovation. Innovation – the main reason the event was set up – practical creativity that solves real life problems. We discussed interesting but perhaps axiomatic theories like, ‘can innovation run out in a generation?’ The answer may be, simply, no. But exploring these topics can often provide insight into other subjects, even if it doesn’t change the answer of the initial question.

In ample time, we were greeted by some of the members of Sacoma, most notably Perez Ochieng. During a small briefing with her, I learnt a lot about the balance between supply and demand and climate-human proportions. Her work involves the innovation of food techniques, using insects as a primary protein foundation, human food, feedstock for animals as well as for waste treatment schemes. I was most impressed by how she explained the insect waste scheme with conciseness and brevity as I pondered the importance of harnessing insect’s biomass in our food chain. This explosion of innovation and information pushed me past my liminality of just thinking ‘CEME is a great place’ to knowing CEME is a great place.

After engaging with other venerable businesspeople, I was escorted to a small-looking donut-shaped pod alongside Marketing university students who were seeking extra knowledge that they could apply in a business perspective. Despite the deceptively small pod, it was obvious it was constructed with specific intentions, designed to increase space as well as conjure a conversational environment for both lecturer and student, another signal that innovation never stops. Being involved within a university setting taught me a lot about myself introspectively, as well as educationally.

The speakers, CEME CEO Noorzaman Rashid, Sacoma’s Perez Ochieng and CEME’s Tracey Wright, all delivered with conviction and passion about their areas of interest. If I were to summarise each to one point, respectively, they would be:

  • A business is supposed to have clear and attainable goals, with as little controversy as possible.
  • No matter how good the quality of a product is, without marketing it, there isn’t much chance of selling it.
  • It is essential to level up young people’s skills according to the types of businesses that are forecasted to relocate there.

To round off the day, we were set on our feet and guided by an active and engaging cicerone around the campus of CEME. This type of experience was invaluable to me, as I got to see first-hand what different types of employers and workers do in their environments. One of the unique selling points of CEME is how fast they can progress an individual or business. For example, engineers or mechanics who complete their course there, have a high chance of working with one of CEME’s collaborators, Ford Motors, an exciting prospect for any young engineer.

Finally, my teacher and I had our parting discussions. I shared my extreme gratitude to those at CEME for the experience. In acquiesce the automatic doors parted, and my day at CEME was over, however, I see myself there again, sometime soon.

Preparing for a green economy

Employers from a range of sectors came together on CEME campus in April to discuss the skills needed for a future green economy.

Thousands of new jobs will be created over the next few years, fuelled by major urban and industrial developments across our region, including the new Thames Freeport and development of a hydrogen ecosystem, as we move closer to London’s target of reaching net zero by 2030.

Stimulating discussion around the region’s green skills needs was the Local London Green Jobs and Skills Partnership, led by London South East Colleges, which comprises colleges, local authorities and employers working together to develop and promote high-quality green skills training across London.

Mark Jenkinson of green consultancy Crystal Associates, Sarah Murray, Director of Local London and Louise Wolsey, Group Chief Strategy Officer of London South East Colleges, spoke about the importance of collaboration and ways to support the next generation of employees, such as upskilling and improved training facilities.

They discussed the following key recommendations to provide equal opportunity and the necessary skills and tools for local people to access the green jobs of the future:

  • Develop the Local London region as a centre of excellence for key areas in built environment/retrofit, digital green skills and/or EV charging.
  • Combine the installation of green labs and the greening of the curriculum with the wider decarbonisation of the college estates.
  • Coordinate green career pathway delivery aligned with local and learner needs, college facilities and staff expertise.
  • Develop a partnership-level industry engagement and communications strategy.

Breakout sessions were also held for delegates to discuss what colleges can do to help employers close skills gaps and also to explore the importance of building future skills.   While there is funding for green laboratories at FE colleges to develop career pathways in key technologies, with focus on low-carbon and renewables and design technologies, collaboration with businesses is vital.

Insight and updates from the BGA

Keep up to date with the latest from the Business Growth Academy with a new-look monthly email newsletter covering events, insight and innovation.

The BGA brings together business experts and entrepreneurs who share their experience to support each other and strengthen the relationship between industry and academia. 

The monthly bulletin ensures you’re up to date with the latest events and research, as well as giving advice on how the BGA can help your business develop.

The first issue is out now and includes news about green skills, energy and freeport investment.

Find out more and subscribe here

Maths… there, we said it!

For many of us, maths is an area that we do not have confidence in. A recent poll conducted by FE News found that 47 per cent of parents admitted to ‘dreading the moment their child returns from school with maths homework’.

In addition, as a nation, we are facing a large gap in maths skills, at a time when data and STEM based careers are in high demand. While the recent announcement by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to extend compulsory maths education post-16 will certainly support our children and young people, what about us adults?

Maths is used in our everyday lives, probably without us realising it – from (trying) to manage our energy bills and household budgets, to understanding our pay slips and bank statements. With a bigger focus on data analysis and insights in business, learning the basics in Excel or beyond has become a key area of upskilling to secure that next promotion.

So how can we ‘do’ maths, without learning maths?

CEME is pleased to announce that, with our partners at New City College Group (NCC), we have accessed funding to create tailored training around maths skills for adults aged 19 and over.

To apply, you must be resident in London and have not previously attained a GCSE Grade 4/C or higher maths qualification.

The training can be delivered in person on CEME campus or in your office, online or a mixture of both. The courses can be quick modular bursts, or more intensive programmes delivered over a few weeks or months.

Training is tailored around a particular need, for example, helping your child with their maths homework, or learning how to use Excel for beginner data analysis and insights, or even just helping you with household budgets. Whatever the need is, we are able to help you.

If you are interested in finding out more, or if you have a need for training in anything maths related, please email our Associate Director of Skills Development and Engagement at by Friday, 18 February for an initial chat.

Financial advice for BGA network

Tax specialists Counting King hosted an online webinar about the funding options available to businesses as part of CEME’s Business Growth Academy.

This webinar provided a brief overview of the range of products available to UK businesses, how they work and some of the key qualifying criteria that may be required to secure these.

Our Business Growth Academy brings together a dynamic network of entrepreneurs, start-up and established businesses who can share experiences and learn from each other and experts in their fields.

Membership is open to businesses based at CEME and in the surrounding region and includes:

  • A quarterly business networking event that takes place at CEME’s state-of-the-art business centre based in Rainham, East London, bringing together a wide variety of businesses, market sectors and experts.
  • Regular business support masterclasses including informative workshops, and expert insights.
  • A monthly newsletter sharing useful advice and support for business owners, and business promotion opportunities.
  • Access to research and development advice and facilities for new ideas and innovations.
  • Financial advice to support your business growth, including grant funding opportunities, expert advice on R&D Tax Credits, and connections to investors.
  • Discounts offered for room hire and office spaces, to incentivise new businesses, and support growth.

Come along to the next BGA event.

Making an impact in skills development

We are proud of the success of Gateway to Skills over the past eight months, which has been made possible with SEGRO’s sponsorship and support. We are looking forward to working closely with SEGRO in 2023 and developing this initiative further.

CEME was established in 2003 as a registered charity with the objective of contributing to the regeneration of the Thames Gateway region creating prosperity and jobs. For more than 20 years, the organisation has had strong partnerships in education and business, with local authorities and institutions.

CEME has also become a well-respected business campus providing premium, flexible workspace, workshops and events space for training, conferences and private hire. CEME remains a registered charity aspiring to make a difference to people’s lives for the better.

With the addition of Tracey Wright, Associate Director of Skills Development and Engagement, to the team, CEME has set a new strategy and vision for the future, to be seen and recognised as a significant contributor and champion of skills development contributing to inclusive business growth.

Our new Impact Report contains key data insights from March 2022 to show how, with SEGRO’s sponsorship, our Gateway to Skills programme is supporting more students into STEM-based learning pathways and careers, as well as highlights from our STEM partners.

Innovative green skills training centre announced

Plans for the largest green skills renewable training centre in Greater London to open in Spring 2023 have been unveiled.

The partnership between world-leading heat pump manufacturer Daikin UK, renewable technology solutions and training provider Quantum Group and the Centre of Engineering & Manufacturing Excellence (CEME) will be a huge step forward in the drive to decarbonise homes across the region and create jobs in the green skills sector.

The Centre of Excellence will help the region’s plumbing and heating installers diversify into renewable heating solutions and ensure the long-term competitiveness of their businesses, as fossil fuel boilers are phased out.

The Government has set a target of installing 600,000 heat pumps in homes by 2028 and this state-of-the-art training centre in Essex will play an important role in helping to meet that target, training more than 2,000 heat pump installers a year from Spring 2023.

Once trained, these installers will continue to receive support from Daikin UK in safely and efficiently installing its heat pumps across the region and further afield. Their work installing heat pumps and other renewable technologies including Solar PV, will play a vital role in driving the UK further towards its goals of energy efficiency and energy security. 

We’re proud to be supporting Quantum Group and CEME as they blaze a trail to increase the region’s bank of renewable heating installers.

Heat pumps have huge potential to reduce energy usage and bills in the home. Over its 15-year lifespan*, switching from a fossil fuel boiler to an air source heat pump can save homeowners more than £3,000 when compared to a gas boiler, more than £6,000 compared with oil and more than £9,000 compared to LPG.

Martin Passingham, Product and Training Manager at Daikin UK commented: “It’s never been more important for heating installers to have green skills and ensure that they are prepared for the future. With gas boilers being banned in new homes from 2025, and incentives in place to ensure the country’s existing housing stock is upgraded to low carbon heating, household demand for alternatives like heat pumps is stronger than ever.

“We’re proud to be supporting Quantum Group and CEME as they blaze a trail to increase the region’s bank of renewable heating installers. It’s important that homeowners know that their heat pump will be installed by a highly trained professional – and that’s exactly what this training centre will do.

“With lifetime savings of between 24 and 37 tonnes of carbon*, switching from gas, oil or LPG to a heat pump can have a massive impact on the carbon footprint of your home and represents our best chance to make a significant contribution towards our national net-zero targets.”

Maria Gonella, Managing Partner at Quantum Group, one of the biggest integrated renewable technology solutions and training providers in London and the South East area, said: “We’re delighted to be working with CEME and Daikin UK to offer even more opportunities for installers in the region to upskill and put London and the South East at the forefront of the UK’s journey to low carbon technologies.

“Daikin puts sustainability at the heart of everything it does, and we can’t think of a more deserving brand and better range of heat pumps to train the nation’s future installers on.

“The last couple of years have been difficult, with the pandemic taking a real toll. We’d like to thank Havering Council for their support and their belief in us throughout our journey. We’re continuing to grow and take on exciting new projects including designing and installing renewable technologies training centres for college groups across Greater London and the home counties.

“Our continued investment in our training facilities and working with Daikin UK, the leading HVAC manufacturer is our priority to create the changed needed to ensure a cleaner future. It is our generations responsibility to create our tomorrow.”

Noorzaman Rashid, CEO of CEME, commented: “We’re excited to get started, supporting the upskilling of installers ready for heat pump installations to hit the government trajectory. The Centre of Excellence will allow us to help them take advantage of the huge opportunity that renewable forms of heating present for future proofing their businesses.”

Visit our skills development webpages to learn more about CEME.

To learn more about the training provided by Quantum Group, check out

For more information on Daikin, visit

A successful CEME Hydrogen Summit

In December, we held our first Hydrogen Summit at CEME. The event was a great success, bringing together many like-minded delegates from the world of green energy and green tech.

Thank you to everyone who attended. It was a fantastic day of informative and inspiring talks exploring how hydrogen can contribute to the UK economy and the opportunities and challenges involved.

Key highlights from the day were:

✔ The launch of the innovative Hydrogen Living Lab by CEME, Thames Estuary Growth Board and Ikigai Capital.
✔ A skills partnership between CEME, renewable technology solutions and training provider Quantum Group and world-leading heat pump manufacturer Daikin UK.
✔ Working with Local London colleges to ensure we have the future fit green curriculum.
✔ The world’s first hydrogen double-deck bus from Wrightbus.
✔ An upgraded Motive Fuels Ltd hydrogen refilling station, demonstrated using the Toyota Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.
A special thank you to everyone involved in making the event a success, in particular, our headline sponsors CU London and NOCN Group!

View the highlights and the full panel sessions