Nuclear college to harness the power of skills training
Britain’s next generation of nuclear power plants will be able to call on a new high-tech further education college to train their workforce.
Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock set out the plans during a speech to the Politics Home Skills Summit, marking the 70th anniversary of the Butler Reform Act, which legislated to make technical vocational training a high quality education path that matched academic routes.
This college will support the industrial strategy for nuclear, developed by government and industry to seize the opportunities for economic growth in the nuclear industry. Nuclear new build in the UK is forecast to generate up to 40,000 jobs in the sector at its peak, but employers are currently reporting skills shortages – particularly in engineering. Tackling this skills gap is 1 of the actions to be taken forward through a focussed Skills Delivery Plan led by the Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance. An elite nuclear college will provide skilled labour to meet those needs.
The minister unveiled his intention to open a new elite college jointly funded by government and the nuclear industry that would provide high level technical skills training for the nuclear power sector. He also laid out plans to develop a software engineering college to respond to the needs of the information technology sector.
It is intended that the new colleges will make use of cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art equipment to deliver programmes designed specifically for the next generation of nuclear power or software design. They will also build relationships with a network of affiliated facilities, including existing colleges, private training providers and HE institutions. Learners from across the country will have opportunities to train and the colleges will give learners the opportunity to develop skills for a long term career by responding directly to the needs of the growing nuclear and software industries.