Sellafield Ltd has announced it will fund 50 new apprenticeships a year for small companies in Cumbria.
The new ‘North West Nuclear Community Apprenticeship Programme’ will boost employment opportunities for local people, and help drive economic growth in the region.
Training offered will range from customer services, property maintenance and scaffolding to potentially more diverse professions like logistics and horticulture.
Les Studholme, Head of Training for Sellafield Ltd said: “We are delighted to be using a new community apprentice programme not only to boost nuclear capability, but also create a pipeline of skills that will 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 community.
Developed by Sellafield Ltd, the programme will be delivered and managed independently by the Cumbria Apprentice Training Agency (CATA), who will work with the employers, employment agencies and a range of local training providers.
It is supported by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG), Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster.
Sellafield Ltd is the first in the UK to run the scheme, which will then be rolled out all over the country.
Les added; “This apprenticeship programme has been designed to address the specific skills shortages faced by Cumbria.
“It will also provide more accessible paths to professional qualifications and job opportunities, for anyone over the age of 16, including additional support for those with barriers to education and employment.”
Les added; “These schemes offer people the transferable skills that will be valuable to a thriving economy.
“This could be within the supply chain supporting the Sellafield mission, or working in business, tourism, healthcare or education, the opportunities are vast.”
With no upper age limit, it will provide local people with accessible paths to professional qualifications and employment, and enhance the skills of the broader Cumbrian workforce.
A range of small companies will be identified as host employers in the coming months, and will be matched to apprentices once they are recruited next year.
Jacq Longrigg, Head of Skills & Talent for the NDA said: “This scheme is a strategic investment from the NDA & 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.”
Fiona Rayment chair of the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group said: “The North West Community Apprenticeship Scheme represents one of the first projects to begin to achieve the targets set in the recent Nuclear Sector Deal, we have to increase the number of apprenticeships to over 2000 within the next two years and this project will help support this challenge while generating a positive social impact.”