Bridgwater College in Somerset has received £2 million from EDF Energy to help students and local people secure new skills, training and jobs for Hinkley Point C and to create a legacy of engineering excellence across the South West.
The investment relates to a funding package, agreed with Sedgemoor District Council, West Somerset Council and Somerset County Council, to allow EDF Energy to undertake Site Preparations work at Hinkley Point C.
Most of this investment – £1.5 million – will go towards the Construction Skills Centre at Bridgwater College, which will provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ service to meet the training needs of the planned new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, offering integrated training programmes across the College’s sites.
A new civil engineering facility, which is due to open later this year, is being built at the College’s Cannington site. Covering eight acres, the new facility includes a single-storey, three-classroom teaching block with vehicle storage, and a maintenance and training area. It will accommodate a range of state-of-the-art training, including construction plant, building services, formwork, steel fixing and erecting, and new roads and street works.
Further courses, delivered at Bridgwater College’s other sites and based on partnerships with specialist providers, include computer-aided design and manufacture, electrical engineering, fabrication and welding, computer technologies, welding, maintenance and mechanical fitting, business administration, leadership, logistics and security.
The remaining £500,000 is being spent on the Energy Skills Centre at Bridgwater College, which was formally opened by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in January 2011. The Energy Skills Centre has already received £500,000 from EDF Energy and is due to receive a further £2 million should planning consent be granted for the new nuclear power station.
Richard Mayson, EDF Energy’s Director of Planning and External Affairs for Nuclear New Build, said: “We’re delighted to deepen our partnership with Bridgwater College, which will play a key role in transforming the South West into a centre of engineering excellence. This investment will open up exciting new training and employment opportunities for local people and is another example of EDF Energy delivering on its promises.”
Andy Berry, Bridgwater College’s Vice Principal, said: “We have been working closely with EDF Energy and industry partners to develop a range of world class training facilities and programmes, with the aim of ensuring that local people and businesses are able to gain maximum benefit from the proposed Hinkley Point C development. We’re delighted with the investment from EDF Energy and proud of our national reputation for delivery of high quality training for employers.”
Cllr Duncan McGinty, Sedgemoor District Council Leader, said: “The potential opportunities for training, employment and education offered by this project are considerable so it is vital that they become a reality for the communities closest to it. We are working with EDF Energy and the College to match labour force requirements with local capabilities and, where there are gaps, start to address them. This money will help bring us closer to our goal.”