News that the Government has approved the construction of the UK’s first new nuclear power plant for 20 years at Hinkley Point C comes as a massive boost for the young people of Somerset as they start to plan their future careers. This major infrastructure project brings with it a wealth of opportunities for individuals, employers and the community alike, all of whom will benefit from unprecedented employment and training prospects.
The news was also welcomed by Bridgwater and Taunton College, which has been highly proactive in harnessing the huge investments being made in our region, and now boasts some of the most advanced training facilities in the country. ‘Live’ training environments for engineering and civil engineering, established with Local Enterprise Partnership and industry support, have been set up to fully replicate the workplace, enabling learners to see and understand workplace safety, cultures and behaviours alongside job-related skills, so that they leave College fully understanding the expectations of the world of work.
The College’s achievements in the field of work-based training have resulted in a number of national awards, including a highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize and the title of Times Educational Supplement FE College of the Year 2016. Its position at the forefront of vocational skills training will be further augmented by the opening, in September 2017, of the Government’s flagship National College for Nuclear at the College’s Cannington Centre, where innovative technology and virtual reality simulators are set to revolutionise the way in which higher level professional and technical training for nuclear new build, operation and decommissioning is delivered.
Speaking after the announcement, College Principal Mike Robbins said: “EDF Energy has fully embraced the local agenda for Hinkley Point C, and has been working with us for a number of years to develop the highly specialist skills training programmes that these major infrastructure projects require.”
He went on to say: “Today’s schoolchildren are tomorrow’s technical and professional workforce, and at Bridgwater and Taunton College they will find superb facilities, experienced, industry-aware staff and an employer network that is second to none. Learners of all ages and abilities will have plenty of opportunities to thrive and, thanks to Hinkley Point C, access to work experience, apprenticeships and employment opportunities with some of the largest multinationals in the world.”