Meet the contractor: MEH Alliance

The MEH Alliance is delivering the mechanical, electrical and heating and ventilation works, as we move into the next phase of Hinkley Point C’s construction. We spoke to some representatives from the MEH Alliance to find out which contractors are involved – and the opportunities available for young people.

Q. What is the MEH Alliance?

A. The MEH Alliance brings together EDF in partnership with a joint venture (JV) formed of four major UK industrial erection companies: Altrad, Balfour Beatty Bailey, Cavendish Nuclear and Doosan Babcock – plus we’re supported by a network of strategic suppliers. This innovative alliance model means that different contractors can work as a single entity to deliver the complex installation of cabling and pipework across the 4,000 rooms and 75 buildings of Hinkley Point C.

Joint ventures are very common on big infrastructure projects, like Hinkley Point C. They bring together different organisations and skillsets to enable more collaborative working, which brings time and cost benefits. Together, we also aim to create new industrial capacity and jobs by manufacturing key components in the UK.

Q. What type of works will you be delivering?

A. The MEH Alliance will be delivering the main Mechanical, Electrical and HVAC works (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) at Hinkley Point C. This includes the installation of all pipes, electrical kits and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. 

On top of this, the MEH Alliance is responsible for the transfer to commissioning of 91 mechanical systems, 143 electrical systems, and all permanent small power and lighting networks. 

Q. Are you already working on site?

A. Yes – we started work on the project in 2019, but on a small scale. Over the project lifetime, we’ll have thousands of skilled people working on the MEH installation at Hinkley Point C.

Q. Will you be recruiting apprentices?

A. Yes, we plan to recruit a significant number of Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices for a wide range of MEH roles. The initial cohorts will be for project controls, welding and pipefitting. But there’ll be more trade and support roles as our presence on site ramps up. 

Insight into… a Pipefitter apprenticeship with the MEH Alliance

During a pipefitter apprenticeship, apprentices learn how to use measuring and mechanical cutting equipment; read isometric drawings; and welding procedures. This discipline requires a high degree of accuracy. And a typical pipefitter apprenticeship lasts 36 months. 

Find out more about being a pipefitter – including salary, working hours and qualifications information – on the National Careers Service.

Q. What opportunities are available to apprentices who work for the MEH Alliance? 

A. An apprenticeship with the MEH Alliance gives a young person an in-demand skillset. The career opportunities for trained welders in this country, for instance, are phenomenal. And not only that – a welder starting at Hinkley Point C could go on to travel the world with their skills and experience.

Apprentices also earn from their first day at work, so they have some financial freedom and independence. And by the time they finish their apprenticeship, they could be on a really attractive salary.

Anyone starting an apprenticeship with the MEH Alliance is also joining one of our established, industry-leading companies. So in terms of benefits, job security and quality of training, it’s a world-class opportunity.

We recently had two young people take up apprenticeships on the day they received their GCSE results. Shortly after starting, they were at a conference where they sat alongside graduates and others in the business – and they were treated just like any other young professional who works for the company. So you can rest assured that you’ll not only be working for an organisation with fantastic standards, but also which really cares about its employees.

Insight into… a Pipe welding apprenticeship with the MEH Alliance

During a pipe welding apprenticeship, apprentices learn how to set and use multiple welding equipment, and their work will be constantly assessed for quality – using methods such as radiography and ultrasonics. This discipline requires a high degree of skill. And a typical pipe welding apprenticeship lasts 48 months.

Find out more about being a welder – including salary, working hours and qualifications information – on the National Careers Service.

Q. What skills and behaviours do you look for in apprentices?

A. Like any selection process, we want to find out a candidate’s interests, any commitments they’ve made to a club or team, and their experiences. Sports can demonstrate they have good hand-eye coordination, for example, which is useful for our mechanical roles. While hobbies, interests and volunteering can demonstrate that a candidates has the right behaviours to get on well with others and communicate effectively with their team.

Q. What do you want to see in a candidate’s application?

A. We want candidates to demonstrate that they’ve done some research into the role they’re applying for. For instance, if they’re applying for a pipefitter apprenticeship, that they know the difference between pipefitters and plumbers! More generally, we want to see that they’ve taken care and consideration with their application. So they’ve structured it correctly, with good punctuation and grammar. 

Interested in working on the project?

Register with the HPC Jobs Service. If you’re aged between 16-21 and not already signed up to our skills programme, Young HPC, you can register here and get exclusive access to employer events and training opportunities. To get updates from the MEH Alliance, follow them on LinkedIn.