The new intake started work in Somerset at HOST, a local business providing hotel quality accommodation for the thousands of workers now busy on site. The new apprentices will gain qualifications in a range of subjects including hospitality, accountancy, HR and catering.
Hinkley Point C has already helped to create over 8,500 jobs with thousands more to follow over the coming years. Today’s milestone shows the project is on track to create 1,000 apprenticeships during construction. The experience will be repeated for people in Suffolk and East Anglia at the proposed follow-on project at Sizewell C.
Lauren Withers, aged 23 from Bridgwater is part of the latest group and is studying accountancy.
She said: “I grew up in Bridgwater so it’s fantastic to have the opportunity on my doorstep to stay in the area and develop my career without having to move away. My previous job was at a local bank branch and now my apprenticeship will take my skills to the next level and help me progress into management accounting.”
The success in recruiting and employing local people is the result of an innovative skills pipeline at Hinkley Point C:
- The Inspire Education programme has visited almost 500 schools and colleges in the area, meeting 167,000 students so far.
- Young HPC, which provides careers advice and support to 16-21 year olds, is currently helping 1,000 people.
- The HPC Job Service has helped to ensure that almost 50% of the site’s workforce is local, directly helping over 800 join new careers at or connected to Hinkley Point C.
- Working with partners at Somerset County Council, regional training providers and the charity Discovery, a 10-week programme has enabled those with special educational needs to access long term, sustainable careers through Hinkley Point C.
The latest intake of apprentices are also benefitting from EDF Energy’s award winning support to many of its contractors via direct transfer of its apprenticeship levy. Working with the National Apprenticeship Service, EDF Energy is now able to use 25% of its apprenticeship levy funds to help Hinkley Point C contractors like HOST create new apprenticeship programmes.
Chris Young, Education and Skills Delivery Manager, said; “I’m extremely proud of our commitment to reach ambitious targets for the training of the next generation. There are still a huge range of opportunities that the Hinkley Point C project through apprenticeships or our many routes into work and training. There is an option for everyone, no matter your previous background or skill-set.”
Councillor David Hall, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Planning and Community Infrastructure at Somerset County Council said: “I am extremely pleased to see Hinkley Point C welcome the 500th apprentice. This adds to Somerset’s skilled workforce and will contribute in the long-term to the economic legacy of HPC.
“A lot of hard work has gone into ensuring the successful implementation of EDF Energy’s workforce development strategy. With many more opportunities available, the power station’s 10-year construction period and a sixty year operating life expectancy, many of our future Hinkley Point C employees will be in the classrooms of today.”
Jade Arnold, from Taunton is the HOST training manager, and an apprentice himself. “Funding from EDF Energy’s apprenticeship levy transfer is allowing us to up-skill our workforce over the longer term. As a local company, it means we are in the best possible place to continue supporting the project and ensure we are ready for opportunities of the future, whether in Somerset or beyond”
Bethany Sharkey, from Bridgwater is enjoying a career change as she completes her Lifting Technician Apprenticeship with one of Hinkley Point C’s main contract partners, Bylor.
As one of the sites newest recruits, Bethany was previously working in a dental laboratory in Bridgwater before getting a job on-site as a handywoman until moving into her apprenticeship. “I saw the tower cranes and realised I wanted to drive one,” she said. “I wouldn’t be who I am without this apprenticeship and couldn’t imagine myself doing anything different. It’s incredible to be part of such a huge project and sometimes I can’t really grasp the scale of the development opportunities ahead of me. Who knows where the work will take me? Perhaps I’ll drive the biggest lifting crane in the world!”
Sam Shaw, from Watchet joined the Hinkley Point C team after 10 years as a local bricklayer and wanted a move into a managerial role. “I wasn’t sure I could do it at first,” said Sam. “But with the support of the team at Hinkley Point C, I’m now working towards my BSc in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management. It’s definitely setting me up for the future.”
Finn Cavanagh, from Wedmore a graduate of the Supported Traineeship, is now a Bylor General Storeman. It’s his first permanent role after completing his training. Finn said: “During the programme, we practised skills like teamwork problem solving and using initiative. I’ve learnt and developed a whole range of skills working in the stores. I enjoy everything about the job!