2 Oct 12

West Somerset Community College is declared ‘Hinkley Ready’

The West Somerset Community College was the venue for today's (2 October) launch of two exciting new Hinkley Point C training and skills projects and hosted the official opening of innovative new facilities aimed at inspiring local youngsters.

'Hinkley Ready' and 'Hinkley Enterprise' schemes are a collaboration between EDF Energy and the college, designed to help local students maximise opportunities from the proposed new power station.

The official launch of the state-of-the-art workshops was the centrepiece of a full day of activities which saw 1,800 students from the college and local feeder schools taking part in a series of interactive workshops and other activities as part of the ‘INSPIRE’ education programme. The activities were designed to engage young people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and were delivered by over a dozen businesses and higher education providers, including EDF Energy apprentices from Hinkley Point.

Students also filled the exhibitions hall to meet representatives of companies including Rolls Royce, Airbus, Kier Bam and local businesses such as Miles Tea and YLEM Computing, as well as the Universities of Exeter, Plymouth, Bournemouth, Cardiff and the University of West of England and awarding bodies.

WSCC’s new Principal, Gaynor Comber, said: “The STEM day is really exciting for the College as it raises students’ aspirations in a breadth of areas which are the future of this country.

“We are also especially grateful for all the support from EDF Energy, particularly the funding of our new facilities which allow greater workplace learning.”

Barbara Jones, HR Director for EDF Energy Nuclear New Build, formally opened the new facilities, which are being funded as part of the £7.1 million investment by the energy company to improve local skills and training at WSCC and Bridgwater College.

The new facilities greatly enhance the provision at the College’s Enterprise and Skills Centre, which now employs thirteen members of staff, as well as two apprentices who maintain the faculty. Vocational training, such as building services, construction, plumbing, electrical and mechanical skills is now available to students. In addition the centre intends to reach out to the wider community by offering refresher training and upskilling.

The proposed Hinkley Point C power station will provide around 25,000 jobs over the construction period, as well as 900 permanent jobs once operational. The project will also create around 400 apprenticeships. Many of the potential workers are still at school and college today.

Richard Mayson, Director of Planning and External Affairs for EDF Energy Nuclear New Build, said: “It is really fantastic for Somerset to have a project of the scale of the Olympics, with such a variety of skills, training and job opportunities, not just over the next ten years, but also for the sixty years of planned operation at Hinkley Point C.

“Several of our power station managers began as apprentices in the industry, so there are great opportunities for today’s students to be inspired to take the first steps towards a variety of exciting and rewarding careers.”

West Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Economic Regeneration and Growth, Cllr David Sanders, said: "The contribution these splendid new facilities will make towards equipping our communities to take full advantage of the opportunities coming our way in future through projects such as Hinkley Point C is vital. We are grateful for the funding and hard work that have made this possible and look forward to seeing our students reaping the benefits."

Notes to editors:

West Somerset Community College

The West Somerset Community College in Minehead is a unique Academy serving a largely rural community in the South West. It is home to the innovative ‘Skills and Enterprise Centre’ which provides training and education in construction engineering, service industries and many more sector areas.

The College has worked in collaboration with EDF Energy to develop two exciting projects, Hinkley Ready and Hinkley Enterprise which will support the students and the local business community to maximise the opportunities that arise from the Hinkley Point C proposed developments. EDF Energy has been working with the Centre to provide funding for the enhanced delivery of STEM subjects and the opening on 2 October showcased the new facilities on offer to young people living near the Hinkley Point site.