To help the community of West Cumbria build a sustainable and diverse economy, we need strong educational attainment
‘Investment in potential talent, training and recruitment can reap immense benefits for business and communities’, was a key theme at the Sellafield Ltd sponsored New Statesman Northern Powerhouse Conference in Leeds.
Leading this discussion at the event was Sellafield Ltd’s Jamie Reed, alongside an impressive panel of speakers including former Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears and Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who highlighted how skills are crucial to productivity and to the wellbeing of communities, businesses and individuals.
Jamie Reed discussed how ensuring Sellafield Ltd has a pipeline of the right skills was identified a number of years ago, and the company’s investment is now benefiting the industry and the economy.
He said: “Last year we were delighted to become a member of the Northern Powerhouse, allowing us to work closely with our owners the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Government, local authorities, and other partners including the LEP, to give us a greater chance of success, through driving economic growth in areas such as education, skills and innovation.
“We have a whole range of examples of education and skills development in the area. For example, in West Cumbria we launched the Project Academy alongside the University of Cumbria that has so far resulted in the graduation of more than 1,000 people; developed buildings and education resources that train students from the ages of 14 to PHD level; the area has a Universtity Technical College, an excellent apprentice training centre, a National College for Nuclear and we’ve played a crucial role in the development of two schools.
“We’ve always had to develop our own as we don’t have the number of universities on our doorstep providing a continuous stream of higher level skills, and we don’t have the pulling power of the big cities.
“To deliver our mission and help the community of West Cumbria build a sustainable and diverse economy, we need strong education attainment, and we are helping to raise standards, close the attainment gap and promote healthy lifestyles.”
The Conference also explored the key policy themes of rebalancing the economy and infrastructure and included leading political and business figures and central drivers of the Northern Powerhouse project.
Daniel Cochlin, Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s Head of External Affairs said: “Companies like Sellafield Ltd are spearheading the education and re-skilling of their workforce to the benefit of their communities, but also to support the nuclear industry and the wider Northern Powerhouse and UK economy.”