12 Nov 15

EDF Energy opens new national training centre in Somerset

  Historic 12th century buildings will be home for collaboration and innovation in energy

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has opened EDF Energy’s new national training centre in Cannington, Somerset.  Cannington Court is a restored 12th century Benedictine nunnery which combines the latest in energy saving technology and digital learning with an historic space for thinking and collaboration.

She joined EDF Energy CEO Vincent de Rivaz at the centre near the proposed new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C. Cannington Court  is a multi-million investment which will meet the training needs of EDF Energy, and allow collaboration with academic and industry partners.

Its facilities include new ways of learning through digital tools and virtual reality hardware. It also includes a simulator training centre.  EDF Energy’s research and development team has installed ground source heat pumps and solar technology to generate electricity which means that more than 50% of the energy for the centre will be provided by these low carbon sources.
The centre forms part of EDF Energy’s “Campus” programme for all staff which includes an online hub and courses run across the UK. Campus will help employees to develop skills to work on smart metering, customer service, existing power stations, nuclear new build, human resources, finance, digital projects and other aspects of EDF Energy’s business.

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom MP said:  “Cannington Court offers a perfect synergy between the past, present and future. The new buildings dovetail neatly with the old; both combining to offer a first class learning experience for students looking to build a bright future. All of which underpins our ambitions for the future of our energy sector and our desire to prepare the ground for new nuclear builds in this country; facilities that will help deliver secure, low carbon and affordable energy.”
EDF Energy’s CEO Vincent de Rivaz said: “Today is the realisation of a vision that we set out four years ago when we chose the ancient buildings of Cannington Court to be the hub of our modern training facilities in EDF Energy, known as Campus. We have taken a Grade I listed building and respectfully turned it into a state of the art training facility complete with digital learning tools and a ground breaking low-carbon energy system.

“Cannington Court is about the long-term and the chain that links the past, through the present, to the future. EDF Energy is a company that invests in the long-term development of people. We are committed to developing the new skills and ideas to build a low-carbon society.  The issues we face as a business and as a country will only be addressed by inspired people through innovation and new technologies.”
Somerset will be at the heart of the transition to the UK’s low carbon future. EDF Energy has invested millions in new local infrastructure, new transport links, as well as in education and training. The company has also partnered with local schools and colleges to develop the future skilled workforce for these projects.

EDF Energy has taken great care in sensitively restoring the historic building. The company has preserved the history of this centuries old building which is an example of its commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency.
Cannington Court is a Grade I listed building that in the 12th Century was a Benedictine nunnery. It’s also been a Catholic Industrial school for boys, and an agricultural college.


For more information contact:

Gordon Bell
Senior External Communications Manager - NNB
01278 654535
07843 218088

Notes to editors

Innovative Learning and Development
EDF Energy invests over £40 million a year in the UK in research and development.
Blue Lab, EDF Energy’s dedicated innovation platform, exists to develop this R&D into new products, services and business models for its customers.
At Cannington Court, the company has placed an emphasis on using innovative tools and methods to discover new ways of learning. These are tailored to the individual to ensure they can get the best out of their training. Employees benefit from a range of teaching methods from video gaming and podcasts, to traditional teaching methods.
Investing in Somerset
EDF Energy has a long-standing investment in Somerset. It operates an existing nuclear power station, Hinkley Point B, which contributes £40m to the regional economy yearly, and has plans to build a new power station on the same site. During construction Hinkley Point C will boost the regional economy by £100m each year and create 25,000 jobs. During operation it will contribute £40m every year to the regional economy and create 900 jobs.

EDF Energy has for many years partnered with Bridgwater College to provide training in construction and engineering skills.
The company has also partnered with Imperial College’s Centre for Nuclear Engineering which is helping to extend the lives of its existing nuclear power stations.
In addition, by creating many industrial partnerships such as with Laing O’Rourke, the company is looking further than its own employees to develop the highly-skilled workforce that will deliver this country’s future energy needs.

EDF Energy in the South West

In the South West EDF Energy employs around 4,000 people across three key sites; at Hinkley Point in Somerset, at Barnwood, near Gloucester, and at Exeter. We operate Hinkley Point B power station, which employs around 550 staff and 220 contract partners. A new nuclear power station, capable of supplying around 5 million homes, is planned at Hinkley Point, subject to a final investment decision. We have an operational support centre at Barnwood, while Exeter is home to one of EDF Energy’s three UK-based call centres. As well as currently generating enough power for some 1.5 million homes in this region, EDF Energy also provides gas and electricity to 610,000 customers with over 20% of those opting for one of the company’s Blue+ products backed by low-carbon generation. We make sure we buy enough electricity generated from a low-carbon nuclear source to match every unit of electricity we estimate our Blue customers use. EDF Energy is proud to power some of the largest companies in the UK, including sites for the Ministry of Defence, Tesco Stores Limited, Morrisons and Everything Everywhere, right here in the South West.