Skills training can help supply chain companies win nuclear work

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Skilling up their workforces through a funded programme could help 1,400 supply chain companies in Norfolk and Suffolk exploit opportunities arising from the proposed Sizewell C nuclear facility.

From engineering and construction to hospitality and IT, businesses are being encouraged to sign employees up to the Nuclear Readiness Programme, which is being delivered through West Suffolk College.

The courses will raise awareness of current and future opportunities to bid for contracts in the nuclear industry at home and abroad and enable employers to benchmark their operations against recognised nuclear standards and take the necessary steps to close identified gaps.

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership is funding the scheme through its Innovative Projects Fund and it is being facilitated by the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NASN).

An East of England Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Sizewell C Consortium, a group of 200 companies ready to build Sizewell C, the LEP and other stakeholders. The MoU is based on independent research conducted by Ernst & Young that predicts the development could deliver a £2bn boost to Suffolk and £4.4bn to the wider region.

Phil Stittle, Executive Director for Business Development at West Suffolk College, said that by developing the skills of their workforces, supply chain companies would give themselves a competitive advantage when bidding for work arising from the proposed Sizewell C facility.

“Companies need to be getting themselves ready for the next stage of Sizewell C. If we get an announcement in the next few weeks, they need to get themselves in a position to bid for work because these courses tick big boxes in terms of procurement.

“Nuclear operates to the highest levels of safety and security and if you can incorporate those standards into your business’s day to day work you are going to work more safely and sustainably.”

West Suffolk College hopes to engage with up to 40 companies and provide training for 415 people. Courses started from 15 May and run for a year and a maximum discount of 40% per person is available for the NSAN courses.

C-J Green, Chair of the LEP, said the Innovative Projects Fund supported projects which could support the delivery of the Economic Strategy for Norfolk & Suffolk and generate economic growth.

“Skilling up our workforce so it can meet the demands of key sectors like the energy industry is going to be crucial to our recovery from Covid and future prosperity,” she said. “I would urge all supply chain companies to take part in these courses and make themselves as competitive as possible when bidding for contracts.”

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