More than 40 pairs of businesses from across the UK underwent introductory training and linked up for several hours each month, electronically and face-to-face, with the aim of improving understanding within the Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) community of how best to access opportunities in the decommissioning market. They also join closed groups on LinkedIn to collaborate.

This scheme has now reopened for applications from those wished to be mentored and those interested in becoming a mentor:

SME mentoring scheme information and application forms

The deadline for applications for the 2015 programme is 27 March 2015.

All UK-based SMEs are eligible to apply to become a mentee, regardless of industrial background, but must aspire to work in nuclear decommissioning or have an existing involvement.

Mentors must be experienced business professionals, but not necessarily with a nuclear background.

Previous participants include mentors and mentees from engineering, design, logistics, legal and consulting businesses alongside some key nuclear players from the nuclear industry, as well as further afield.

The scheme arose from discussions within the SME steering group community.

The scheme is being supported by micro-SME, Davies Nuclear Associates Ltd (www.dna-energy.co.uk) and Beehive Coaching and Leadership Development Ltd.

NDA Supply Chain Manager Sam Dancy said:

“The scheme should assist smaller businesses with improved understanding of the decommissioning sector and how it operates.

“But mentoring is a partnership and I also hope that it will help the mentors gain a greater understanding of the capability and capacity of the SME community which may help break down some of the perception issues surrounding this area of our market.”