A college which is taking a lead role in EDF Energy’s efforts to create a new workforce for the nuclear energy industry has been honoured by The Queen.
Bridgwater College in Somerset, which trains young people to work on projects like Hinkley Point C, has been awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.
Staff and governors travelled to Buckingham Palace on February 26th 2016 to receive the prize from Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
EDF Energy has invested £3 million in the college’s groundbreaking Energy Skills Centre, which was opened by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in 2011.
The centre has around 500 engineering apprenticeships and is one of the main training providers for young people who want to work in the nuclear energy industry. It has ultra-modern labs and workshops and offers courses which have been designed in close collaboration with industry.
The prizes are awarded in The Queen’s name every two years for work which demonstrates “excellence, innovation and impact”.
Nigel Cann, Hinkley Point C programme and construction delivery director, said:
“We are thrilled our partnership with Bridgwater College has been recognised and the hard work of college staff and students has been honoured with the presentation of a Queen’s Anniversary Prize.
“EDF Energy’s investment in Bridgwater College is designed to ensure people and businesses in the local community can develop the skills they need to secure jobs and contracts on our project.
“Somerset has a fantastic opportunity to lead the low carbon energy industry and be a national centre of excellence for technical skills.”
The centre is also supported by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the National Skills Academy (Nuclear), as well as EnergySolutions, the Kier Group and Sedgemoor District Council.
College principal, Mike Robbins, who collected the award with Vice-Principal Andy Berry, said: “It is an absolute privilege to receive this highly prestigious award, which is testament to the commitment, dedication and passion of our students and our staff.
“Their innovative ideas, quickness to respond and total flexibility mean that we are now the training destination of choice for a significant number of blue-chip employers, which can only be good news for the young people and communities we represent.
Bridgwater College was one of only four colleges in the country to receive a Queen’s Anniversary Prize, with the remaining 17 winners coming from among the top universities in the country.