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College Wins Bid to Become Part of Pioneering ‘Skills for Nuclear’ Network

City College Plymouth has won its bid to become part of a pioneering initiative to equip people with the skills to enter the nuclear industry.

The College has gained approval to join the National College for Nuclear (NCfN) network, positioning itself as one of just two providers in the South West. Alongside Bridgwater & Taunton College, it will play a crucial role in equipping individuals with the essential skills required to contribute to the growth of the evolving nuclear sector.

The NCfN is a cornerstone of the Government’s response to nuclear skills provision, and the College will help meet the capacity and capability employers in the sector need. The College had to go through a rigorous process to win the right to be part of the network.

It means that by September the College will deliver a nuclear skills suite of programmes that meet the needs of our local, regional and national organisations across both the defence and power generation (civil) nuclear sectors.

The UK’s nuclear sector is growing rapidly, with numbers in the civil and defence workforce estimated to double over the next 20 years, bringing around 80,000 additional jobs across the UK.

The Government has recognised an urgent need to ramp up recruitment activity in the sector, but also that developing people’s skills in a wide range of disciplines which feed into the nuclear sector is needed if demand is to be met.

Jackie Grubb, Chief Executive of City College Plymouth, said the programmes would focus on the careers and jobs within the nuclear sector, providing students with access to world-class learning opportunities that enhance their skills relevant to the industry.

She added: “City College Plymouth actively collaborates with the defence sector, equipping this essential workforce with the necessary skills for safeguarding our nation’s at-sea security. Recognising the critical role played by our nuclear submarine fleet, the College is committed to providing comprehensive training covering all aspects of this highly sophisticated machinery, including its intricate nuclear power system.

“As a proud member of the National College for Nuclear network, we will gain valuable insights into the specific requirements for delivering both nuclear-related skills and comprehensive expertise to meet the demands of our defence sector. We will be able to exchange best practices through working closely with Bridgewater & Taunton College to ensure that our workforce is thoroughly prepared and capable of addressing the challenges posed by the evolving needs of our national defence.”

Andy Berry, Principal & CEO of Bridgwater & Taunton College said: “It is an incredibly exciting time for the nuclear sector in the South West. City College Plymouth joining the National College for Nuclear significantly strengthens the response to the civil and nuclear defence projects. Working together, FE can respond to the growing need for high-skilled people in the nuclear sector. We have a long-established close working relationship with City College Plymouth, and we are delighted they have become a member of NCfN, which will take it to the next level as we continue to collaborate on exciting skills challenges.”

Jenny Ashworth, Managing Director at the National College for Nuclear said: “We are delighted to welcome City College Plymouth to the NCfN family. At such an exciting and vital time for the nuclear and zero carbon sectors, we are thrilled to build upon the NCfN network with such a pioneering and dynamic institution such as City College Plymouth. We look forward to working closely with the team there to further build upon our ability to build a competent and agile workforce for the sector”.

The Government has also launched a campaign called Destination Nuclear, working with partners to fill critical skills gaps in the nuclear industry. The ambition is for nuclear power to generate a quarter of the UK’s electricity by 2050.

Plus, the Government has recently announced that one of the UK’s ballistic submarines, HMS Victorious, will be modernised in Plymouth by Babcock International under a new £560m contract. The move – announced by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps – will create around 1,000 jobs in the region.