24 May 12

Somerset job seekers sign up for Hinkley Point C

Darren Smith of Kier BAM (right) shows EDF Energy’s David Eccles (left) around their Bridgwater offices.

A new report reveals that residents of Somerset and the South West are already seizing the job opportunities offered by the proposed Hinkley Point C power station.

EDF Energy confirmed today, in its first quarterly progress report on education, skills and employment, that 283 construction workers were employed in site preparation work in April 2012, 45 per cent of whom were permanent Somerset residents, with an additional 20% living within commuting distance.

Over 1000 applications for employment have already been registered with the Hinkley Point C Jobs Brokerage, which is managed by Jobcentre Plus, whilst 1200 training places have been delivered through Bridgwater College's Construction Skills Centre, in partnership with EDF Energy.

All workers are required to fill in a questionnaire when they join the Hinkley Point C project so that information about total numbers employed and residency details can be tracked and reported on a quarterly basis to local authorities and other stakeholders.

EDF Energy expects to employ around 25,000 people to build the power station and associated developments during the construction period, and anticipates creating at least 5,000 jobs for Somerset people and many more jobs through the supply chain. The company is engaging with Somerset schools and investing in local colleges to inspire schoolchildren about future opportunities and to train college students and local people so that they can get in the best possible position to secure employment on the Hinkley Point C project as jobs become available.

Bridgwater and surrounding settlements are also poised to see a boost to its local economy as companies associated with the project look at the town for local employees and business locations. Kier Bam, the consortium working on site preparation, has opened a new office in the town and is taking on local staff to help with the project.

Darren Smith, project manager at Kier BAM, said: “We are looking to augment our workforce from the local area and the support we’re getting from EDF Energy and initiatives like the local jobs brokerage is great. We’ve already taken on staff using the jobs brokerage and will be recruiting many more.

“It’s very important that we have the right skills base locally and the investment that is going into Bridgwater College and West Somerset Community College is key. As a Somerset resident myself I’m excited to see our county at the forefront of this massive project.”

David Eccles, head of EDF Energy’s Bridgwater office, added: “EDF Energy has opened an additional office at Mallard Court in Bridgwater for up to fifty people to help support the project. We’ve also refurbished our King Square office using local suppliers Fairways of Bridgwater and ProDISPLAY of Fiddington. Along with our plans for a new £15 million national training centre in partnership with Bridgwater College, these all demonstrate our commitment to help boost the local economy.”

The application to build and operate Hinkley Point C is currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate.