£5 million GREEN light for training centre

nda_logoPart of Berkeley Centre, which adjoins the decommissioning site, will be transformed into an engineering training centre for young people, after £5 million funding was announced by the Government.
NDA Head of Property David Atkinson, Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin and SGS College Principal Kevin Hamblin

NDA Head of Property David Atkinson, Stroud MP Neil Carmichael, Minister for Government Policy Oliver Letwin and SGS College Principal Kevin Hamblin

In a pioneering use of some of the NDA-owned ex- research facilities, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College will refurbish an old rig hall and a range of office buildings to create a state-of-the-art campus providing training in the renewable energy and nuclear sectors.

Transfer of the facilities to the South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGS) project also marks the first time that decommissioned NDA premises have been developed for use outside the industry.

The state-of-the-art campus will focus on engineering and technology training, providing hands-on experience-based learning for engineering apprentices.

Set to open for students in 2016, the Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear (GREEN) project was awarded the funds from the Government’s Growth Fund, as the first phase of an anticipated £40 million development. The College will also invest £5 million.

The GREEN project will host SGS College’s existing Engineering and Construction provision, currently on the Stroud Campus, and will be developed over the next five years to incorporate education, training, business start-up and research facilities in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire. It will focus on the development of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in the County.

Kevin Hamblin, Principal of SGS, said:

“The news of the funding will transform the Berkeley site and herald a new phase in the life of the former nuclear power station.”

The College has received support from the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership, The NDA, Magnox Ltd, Stroud District Council and local MP Neil Carmichael.

David Atkinson, NDA Head of Property, which negotiated a long-term lease, said:

“The NDA was once considering demolition of these surplus facilities and we are absolutely delighted that they can instead support the college’s plans to provide training in renewable energy and nuclear skills.”

Last month, Cabinet Minister Oliver Letwin toured the premises as a guest of MP Neil Carmichael and expressed support for the project and its potential to foster local growth.

The Berkeley Centre is being disposed of as part of the NDA’s programme to dispose of surplus assets and generate capital revenue for the decommissioning mission.

The GREEN campus project will join other occupants already on the business park, including Cavendish Nuclear, Magnox Limited and Hamfields Leisure.

The 14-acre site, owned by the NDA, once housed a research complex for the UK’s electricity supply industry and included a range of offices, warehouses, laboratories and engineering workshops. Later, the Berkeley Centre provided direct engineering and technical support to the Magnox fleet. Many buildings had no history of radiological use while others, including radio-chemistry labs and waste facilities, were decommissioned and demolished.

Following the comprehensive clean-up, which took place over many years, it was the first NDA site to see all nuclear restrictions and licences removed, and has since been marketed for business use.