In a move that signifies the commitment to advancing local workforce development, National College for Nuclear founding partners Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) and the University of Bristol convened in late October with the Gravity team to further explore and strengthen collaboration. This meeting was hosted at Gravity and the National College for Nuclear Southern Hub, located in Cannington, just west of Bridgwater. The National College signifies the excellent existing working relationship to prepare young people for careers in the nuclear sector.
Gravity is geared to host international business and accelerate responses to climate change, specifically around large scale advanced manufacturing and transport decarbonisation, opening up new sectors and careers in energy management and electrification – all fundamental in the transition to a net zero economy.
The dialogue centred on BTC’s expertise and track record in employer engagement and the leadership role for Gravity on the workforce development strategy – aligning business need to pathways to enable local people to connect to new training and job opportunities.
Gravity will facilitate research and development and new higher and further educational routes, creating exciting prospects for the University of Bristol to engage with and develop. Collaboration will leverage the complementary strengths of each institution to bolster Gravity’s workforce development strategy, ensuring a future-facing pool of talent for future occupiers at Gravity.
The University of Bristol’s delegation concluded their visit with a guided tour of the National College for Nuclear’s state-of-art facilities.
As a next step, the parties agreed to establishing a Memorandum of Understanding and to initiate a mapping of respective strengths and educational ‘offer’ to form a baseline from which to build. The parties agreed this was an essential first step to provide a platform for employer engagement to scope business need, and to working with other partners more widely on implementation.
This is Gravity, Director – Planning and Economic Development, Claire Pearce commented: “This partnership builds on the success of workforce development in the Bridgwater locality over the last 15 years with major employers and is of great significance to Gravity’s ambition of achieving its clean and inclusive growth strategy. Our Skills Charter mission is to ensure that local talent has ample opportunity to navigate through bespoke education pathways between the two institutions to secure high-quality jobs with future occupiers on Gravity.
Access to talent has always been one of Gravity’s key marketed attributes, we believe that the two institutions complement each other, from level 3 apprenticeships through to PhD’s and we are eager to see the fruits of their collaboration in workforce development, which will empower the South West to lead a strategic response. This initiative is crucial for developing new skills that will underpin emerging economic sectors”.
Bridgwater & Taunton College Principal and CEO, Andy Berry, commented: “We are looking forward to working in collaboration with the University of Bristol to deliver the innovative vision of Gravity, together we are leveraging our strengths and setting a new standard in education-to-employment pathways. It is a shining example of how local institutions can come together to build a formidable workforce for the future. Together we are meeting the immediate needs of our community and developing a robust model for sustainable growth to support the future workforce requirements of Gravity. We’re crafting a future where our students and local talent can benefit from this academic partnership, gaining skills that equip them to become ready for the challenges of a rapidly evolving world”.
University of Bristol Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Evelyn Welch, commented:
We are delighted to be working with Gravity and Bridgwater & Taunton College. We see Gravity as a strategic opportunity and key gateway to progressive research and development aligned with addressing the climate emergency, and to enabling training and careers in energy futures. We look forward to working with new occupiers to understand their workforce needs and to develop solutions with the college. The University can support the college and help play a key role in linking to other higher education providers to ensure we optimise the collective strengths of the region”.
Attendees included: Vice Chancellor of University of Bristol, Professor Evelyn Welch; Pro Vice Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) of the University of Bristol, Professor Phil Taylor; Director – Planning & Economic Development at This is Gravity, Claire Pearce; Principal & Chief Executive of Bridgwater & Taunton College, Andy Berry and Vice Principal – Strategy & Partnerships of Bridgwater & Taunton College, Matt Tudor, and Nicky Sendell- Vice Principal.