The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has teamed up with Atkins, one of the world’s leading engineering and design consultancies, to provide its nuclear training academy with fully accredited, university-standard courses.
The training partnership, Atkins Academy at UCLan, will build on Atkins’ training portfolio creating a set of accredited qualifications that will be added to UCLan’s nuclear programme portfolio, available to UK and international markets.
Atkins launched its training academy in 2005 to help bridge the nuclear industry skills gap and in the past two years has trained more than 600 engineers in specialist skills. The academy has developed the most up-to-date nuclear curriculum based on Atkins extensive involvement in, and knowledge of, the key issues shaping the UK’s nuclear and energy future.
Chris Ball, director of nuclear at Atkins, commented:
“As well as developing an accredited training programme, we were keen to ensure we partnered with an institute known by the industry for providing innovative courses and one which is recognised for being at the forefront of nuclear training. UCLan really has exceeded our expectations in this respect and the partnership is an excellent opportunity for us to accelerate the rate at which we can train personnel to ensure they are ready for the safety-critical environment that is the nuclear sector.
“Interestingly, being two very different organisations, Atkins shares a similar ethos to UCLan, particularly the belief that a joined up approach amongst academia, industry and government will put us in an even stronger position to help tackle the energy skills gap.
As one of the UK’s leading nuclear infrastructure consultancies servicing new build, decommissioning and generation sectors, Atkins’ is dedicated to Britain’s nuclear future and we will continue to invest so that we play a central role in that.”
UCLan’s collaboration with the National Skills Academy (Nuclear) and companies such as Sellafield Ltd. has led to the creation of an exciting raft of qualifications specific to the nuclear sector. This includes the UK’s first foundation degree in nuclear decommissioning.
Atkins Academy at UCLan will bring together the strengths of both organisations to offer leading-edge nuclear skills education to take the Atkins Training Academy (ATA) to a new level. A programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the nuclear industry and tailored postgraduate courses will ensure that staff and industry professionals receive the most appropriate and up-to-date training.
Dr Graham Baldwin, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), at UCLan said:
“These new programmes will cover a range of nuclear skills that both Atkins and UCLan recognise will be of key importance to the industry. The courses will be of huge benefit to existing employees of nuclear companies as well as those with aspirations to enter the industry for the first time.
“Atkins is a major engineering consultancy with more than 50 years’ experience in the nuclear sector, which mirrors UCLan’s development of wide ranging, Government-sponsored education programmes for the nuclear industry including the UKs first foundation degree in nuclear decommissioning.
Our approach is characterised by high levels of engagement with employers in the sector, to develop flexible, quality programmes that meet employers’ needs. Our partnership with Atkins is the natural next step forward and the aim is for our courses to become an industry benchmark of excellence.”
Nuclear education in the UK is developing fast, with rising standards, career paths and an emerging professionalism which will benefit from valued accredited programmes to provide qualifications and improve career development. The partnership intends to play a key role in supporting this evolving and exciting programme.