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Apprentices take control

By Hinkley Point C media team | Posted March 07, 2018

National Apprenticeship Week sees the start of our brand new Project Controls apprenticeship at Hinkley Point C (HPC) and three years of earning-while-they-learn for our latest recruits.

Our eight new apprentices are kicking off their Hinkley Point C careers by joining the Project Controls team, who are responsible for keeping track of costs, schedule, risk and change.  In doing so, the Project Controls function ensures that a project as complex as ours is delivered on time and to the agreed cost.

HPC Project Controls Director, Jonathan Smith, whose career started with an apprenticeship, says, “I am proud to sponsor this inaugural Project Controls apprenticeship scheme.  It is a wonderful opportunity for the apprentices to experience Project Controls being delivered across the full life cycle of this major project – from civil works, where we’re delivering on site now; to some of the mechanical, electrical and technology programmes of work that are currently in design and manufacturing phases; through to commissioning and successful project completion.

At EDF Energy we are committed to creating a pipeline of expertise in the nuclear sector and sustainable careers for our employees. Our aspiration is to create 1,000 apprenticeships at HPC and just 18 months into construction we’ve already supported the creation of over 180, but we also have an eye on future projects such as Sizewell C in Suffolk and Bradwell B in Essex.

Project Controls apprentice, Keelan Gunningham, says, “I didn't want to go to university however I was adamant I knew I wanted an equivalent qualification, so this is the perfect start for me. I am absolutely ecstatic about starting next week. The induction programme looks really good and I can’t wait to get going. I’m so pleased to have this opportunity and ideally, I’d love to stay with EDF Energy and further my studies once I complete the apprenticeship.”

A Bridgwater local, Keelan Gunningham, has been waiting two years for the right opportunity at Hinkley Point C. Having successfully studied for a Sports and Exercise Science Extended Diploma, Keelan realised it wasn’t going to be the career for him. After taking some time out to do something different – working as a lifeguard and a Radiological Health Physics Monitor at Hinkley Point A, among others – the careers advisor at Bridgwater & Taunton College suggested an EDF Energy apprenticeship might the answer.

“The scale of HPC was very attractive, especially the huge requirement for team working, which I love. The diversity that comes with an apprenticeship along with the opportunity to see a massive project through is also very appealing.”

Keelan first applied for a Commercial apprenticeship at HPC. Although he was unsuccessful, he knew he wanted to be an EDF Energy apprentice and kept a close eye on the HPC website for opportunities. Keelan submitted his application for the Project Controls apprenticeship as soon as he saw it and flew through the assessments to become one of the eight recruited.

Project Controls apprentices at their induction and welcome meeting.

Alex Morgan from Chepstow will also start this week and, after nine years out of the workforce to raise four young children, she is excited to be returning to work as an apprentice.

“I had planned to go back to work when my youngest child starts school in September, but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I was really worried as I had been out of the workforce for so long, didn’t have any recent references and thought I might have missed the career boat.

“Then I heard about how good EDF Energy is at talent spotting and training their employees, so decided to look for opportunities there. The Project Controls apprenticeship jumped out as there was some similarity with what I’d been doing previously on performance monitoring as a volunteer school governor.

“With reassurance from the HR team, I submitted my application, attended the assessment day and was thrilled to be accepted onto the apprenticeship. Since then, the team has worked really hard to accommodate my need to work flexibly. I can’t wait to get started and feel privileged to be a part of the project.”

Our apprentices will be part of a creative, vibrant and supportive environment providing the best possible foundations for any new career. They will have face-to-face support at an on-site apprentice hub as well as digital access to relevant information, learning and care. Our culture is inclusive and collaborative, meaning our apprentices will work alongside and socialise with a variety of people across our workforce. Experiencing our unique environment will ensure any apprentice has the best possible springboard to a successful career.

Following a three-week induction, including a visit to site, the apprentices will spend 10 weeks at our Bristol office gaining an overview and basic understanding of the key Project Control disciplines.  With responsibility for reporting the progress and projections of our six work programmes, as well as various business related activities, the work of this team is critical to the successful delivery of HPC as its reports inform decision-making on future activity and expenditure on the project.

Through the course of their three-year apprenticeship, apprentices will undertake four-week blocks of study at the recently opened National College for Nuclear (NCfN) Southern Campus in Cannington. Project Controls is the first apprenticeship to be delivered at NCfN, a college created specifically to help train the UK’s next generation of nuclear technicians and engineers.

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