National College for Nuclear set for 2017 launch

Two new training academies are set to revolutionise the way the nuclear industry finds and trains the next generation of engineers and operatives.

The government yesterday confirmed it would provide £15 million in funding to support the creation of the National College for Nuclear that will be based at two sites, one in Somerset and one in Cumbria. The choice of sites reflects the location of the biggest existing nuclear facility at Sellafield in Cumbria, and the biggest planned facility, at Hinckley Point in Somerset.

It is hoped that the College will open 2017 and will meet the demand for highly skilled workers in the nuclear sector. It will offer courses designed by employers for a range of highly specialised careers within the nuclear industry, which is set to grow significantly over the next two decades.

Hinckley Point will start that process: at the height of its construction, Hinkley Point will be the biggest engineering project in Europe, contributing £100m every year to the local economy; when completed it will provide 7% of the UK’s energy needs across 5m homes, all while creating 25,000 job opportunities locally.


 Investment in skills sorely needed

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “This is the investment in high-tech skills that businesses are crying out for. We have made it a priority to work with employers to deliver high-quality, technical education and clear routes to employment that deliver economic growth and create opportunities for our young people, and enable our existing workforce to upskill and retrain for the jobs of the future.

“The National Colleges have been designed with employers, for employers. They will produce the skills needed now and into the future to ensure the UK remains innovative and at the forefront of pioneering industry.”

Colin Reed, Sellafield Ltd Human Resources Director and Board Chair for the National College for Nuclear said: “The announcement means that work will now begin on developing the curriculum which will help to train the next generation of nuclear workers.

“It is expected that new qualifications will be available in 2017 that reflect the needs of the nuclear sector and address the skills challenge facing the industry and its supply chain.”


Other colleges to follow

Copeland MP Jamie Reed said: “I’ve fought for this money for a long time and this project should be seen squarely as part of the Energy Coast vision we have been delivering for over a decade now.

“From the Dalton Institute and UCLan at Westlakes, to the UTC and Construction and Skills Centre at the Lakes College, West Lakes Academy and next year, the new Whitehaven Campus in addition to the National Nuclear Lab at Sellafield.

The Nuclear College follows the announcement of four other themed colleges that are set to provide training opportunities for young people across a range of industries.

The other four National Colleges are:

  • National College for High Speed Rail (hubs located in Birmingham and Doncaster)
  • National College for Onshore Oil and Gas (hub located in Blackpool)
  • National College for Digital Skills (hub located in London; Tottenham Hale and Whitechapel)
  • National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries (hub located in Purfleet, Essex)