Sellafield is funding fifty community apprenticeships for small companies throughout Cumbria

Posted On: 
28th January 2019

Sellafield Ltd's Jamie Reed writes about two projects in Cumbria that the company has invested in: £10m to get the newly-opened Campus Whitehaven education complex started and also funding fifty community apprenticeships for small companies throughout Cumbria.

Credit: 
Sellafield Ltd

The doors have opened on Campus Whitehaven, a brand new £30m education complex in Cumbria, which welcomed its first students in January. 

The site is home to state-of-the-art new buildings for St Benedict’s secondary school and Mayfield special educational needs school.

Sellafield Ltd invested an original £10m to get the project off the ground, which attracted an additional £20m in funding from other sources.

The opening of Campus Whitehaven is a huge moment for our community. This is the biggest single investment in education in Whitehaven since the 1960s. Funding for the project came from a range of partners including the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Copeland Community Fund, and Cumbria County Council.

The site includes new community sports provision, as well as a range of facilities for children with special educational needs including a hydrotherapy pool, a life skills flat, sensory rooms, and an immersive room. Sellafield Ltd is tasked with getting the maximum possible value out of our £2bn a year budget. That means getting the best value for the mission, the nuclear industry, the taxpayer, and our local community.

In my view, a £10m original investment, which unlocks a further £20m to deliver a state-of-the-art educational facility is tremendous value. Campus Whitehaven will directly help to progress the Sellafield mission and strengthen the local economy. It will also ensure more of our young people benefit from the opportunities created in the local economy in years to come.

Meanwhile, Sellafield Ltd is funding fifty community apprenticeships for small companies throughout Cumbria. Candidates could start training as early as February, with more apprenticeships set to be available throughout the year.

The North West Nuclear Community Apprenticeship Programme is the first of its kind in the UK, and will help boost employment opportunities for local people, address specific skills shortages within Cumbria and help drive economic growth in the region. Training offered will cover a range of diverse professions from customer services, property maintenance and scaffolding, to logistics and horticulture.

The training is fully funded by Sellafield Ltd on behalf of the NDA and includes the wage costs for the first year of each apprenticeship. This scheme is particularly aimed at supporting students who have been unable to access apprenticeships through traditional routes. On completion of their Level 2 apprenticeship it is expected that learners will be able to progress to an advanced apprenticeship, full time employment or higher education.

Les Studholme, Head of Training for Sellafield Ltd said: “We are delighted to be using a new community apprentice programme to not only boost nuclear capability, but also create a pipeline of skills that are transferable to any industry, to help Cumbria achieve its unlimited potential. 

The mission at Sellafield is changing, and while we need new skills to drive forward our environmental clean-up, we are also helping to build a diverse and resilient supply chain and thriving economy. The training has been designed to address the specific skills shortages faced by Cumbria and provide local people with accessible paths to professional qualifications and fulfilling employment.”

Jacq Longrigg, Head of Skills & Talent for the NDA said: “This scheme is a strategic investment from the NDA and Sellafield Ltd. Supporting access to careers in nuclear and enabling those smallest organisations within our supply chain and local communities to employ an apprentice is a priority for us, as the first phase of a wider north west project.”

Craig Ivison, Head of Employment and Skills for the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership said: “Cumbria LEP fully supports this exciting and innovative initiative to increase apprenticeship opportunities in the county. It will also help smaller employers to fully engage in apprenticeships to create the future workforce for their organisation.”