The Energy Minister, Greg Hands has opened one of three new training centres to support the Hinkley Point C project in Somerset. Together with existing facilities and investment into education and skills, the centres will be ready to help local people join the 4,000 workers needed for the next phase of the power station's construction.
The Minister unveiled the new Welding Centre of Excellence at Bridgwater and Taunton College’s campus in Bridgwater where it will train and qualify 500 welders a year, benefiting local people and meeting skills shortages in the South-West and across Britain.
Many trainees live in the surrounding area and will take advantage of the 4,000 jobs being created for Hinkley Point C’s next phase, which will see miles of pipes and electrical cables being fitted across the power station.
At the same time, Hinkley Point C has published its 2022 Socio-Economic Impact Report, which shows that:
- The project has trained 922 apprentices and is on track to hit its target of hiring 1,000 apprentices during construction later this year.
- £4.1 billion has been spent directly with companies in the South West so far.
- The local area is directly benefitting from Hinkley Point C’s investment and the town of
- Bridgwater is now outperforming major regional cities in terms of productivity.
- The District of Sedgemoor is seeing the largest growth in household income of any area in Devon and Somerset - above the regional average and above cities like Exeter and Plymouth.
- 1,400 companies in the South West are now involved in building Hinkley Point C, with 14,000 jobs expected to be supported throughout the project.
The welding facility is the latest Centre of Excellence to be opened in support of the Hinkley Point C project, which has now invested a total of £24 million into education, skills, and employment support. It joins the Electrical Centre of Excellence in Bridgwater and the Construction Skills and Innovation Centre, in Cannington. A Mechanical Centre of Excellence is also due to open in Cannington this summer, and will train students in techniques including pipefitting, steel erection and plating.
Andy Berry, Principle and Chief Executive of Bridgwater &Taunton College, said: “The partnership between Bridgwater & Taunton College and Hinkley Point C continues to open up new training and employment opportunities for everyone – no matter their age, background or previous skill set. The new training Centres of Excellence are not only making a difference to local career prospects today but will ensure Somerset has the skills needed for the next generation of net-zero projects.”
Paula Hewitt, Deputy Chief Executive at Somerset County Council, said: “It’s really heartening to see the positive socio-economic benefits of Hinkley Point C continuing to be delivered right here in Somerset – driving levelling up of our communities and making a difference to the lives and future prospects for thousands of people. The results we see today are testament to many years of collaboration between EDF and local partners and I look forward to ensuring that these new facilities and our highly skilled local supply chain can continue to reap the rewards in the longer term”