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National Skills Academy for Nuclear Approved by Government

23rd September 2007

An employer-led proposal has won government approval from the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) for the creation of a National Skills Academy for Nuclear.

The announcement made by the Skills Minister David Lammy, 24th September 2007, follows the evaluation of a detailed business plan which was submitted to the DIUS in May 2007. The business plan has been completed by a dedicated project team led by Project Director Jean Llewellyn, and steered by an employer-led Shadow Board in close consultation with Nuclear employers across each of the regions, Scotland and Wales.

The Skills Academy, will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Cogent, the Sector Skills Council for the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, nuclear, oil and gas, petroleum and polymer industries. It will assist Nuclear employers in tackling the current and future skills barriers and challenges facing the Nuclear industry not just in relation to the Government's 65bn clean-up programme but also for waste management, defence, fuel processing and enrichment, power production and to ensure the sector has the skills and additional resources available for potential new build.

The National Skills Academy for Nuclear will play a transformational role for the sector. Using the Nuclear Credit Framework developed in partnership with Cogent, the Skills Academy will develop a standardised and coordinated approach to education, training and skills development in the nuclear sector. From its head office in Cumbria, the Skills Academy will operate via a network of Regional Training Clusters, developing and accrediting local high quality provision, and creating "centres of excellence" for the delivery of nuclear specialised training, enhanced where appropriate to respond to specific skills gaps as identified by employers. First courses will start in early 2008 and will create a framework for career progression and development across the sector.

Work has already commenced on what will be the flagship centre of this National Skills Academy. The Nuclear Academy development in West Cumbria is a collaboration/partnership between the Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), the
Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), West Lakes Renaissance, British Nuclear
Group and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. The facility will be a dedicated centre of excellence and innovation that will provide a wide range of education and training facilities to the nuclear sector, alongside business support services.

In Caithness work is underway to deliver a range of courses from the National Skills Academy for Nuclear in partnership with North Highland College.

David Bonser, Chief Executive of BNFL and Chair of Academy Board said: "I am absolutely delighted that approval has been given for a National Skills Academy for the nuclear sector. The Skills Academy means that employers will be able to determine the programmes on offer and to shape the content, design and delivery of training and development, taking intelligence-based decisions. The industry has some unique requirements and the Skills Academy will ensure that these are met in consistent ways as we move forward into the future."

Jean Llewellyn Project Director of the National Skills Academy Nuclear said:
"Throughout the planning stage, nuclear employers have been at the forefront of this National Skills Academy. It is their Skills Academy; which has been developed to meet their needs, and going forward, it will continue to be steered by an employer-led Board, which will ensure the nuclear industry has the skills it needs to continue as a World-Class industry."

Mike Graham, National Secretary, Prospect North - Union representative on the Shadow Board. "The nuclear trade unions have had major concerns about the high age profile in
the industry and the ability to resource not only nuclear decommissioning but also the planned nuclear renaissance. The Skills Academy has the ability to bridge the skills gap and set common standards rather than rely on the present multiplicity of standards; the Business Plan is a credit to the wide cross section of employers, and the unions who have collectively got their act together with a coherent strategy. The Business Plan is a
first class piece of work which will help deliver a highly skilled workforce for the Nuclear industry"

Joanna Woolf, Cogent CEO said: "The go ahead for the National Skills Academy for Nuclear is excellent news for industry and for its future workforce, and we acknowledge the tremendous efforts of Jean and the business planning team. Thanks also go the Skills Academy employer-led Board for their inspiration and leadership and to all those companies who have shown faith and commitment to the project and also contributed
financially." She added: "It is vital for our industries to be able to recruit and equip people with the right competencies and skills and Cogent's National Skills Academies have the
expertise, the authority and the close relationship with employers to make thishappen."

Nationa Skills Academy Web Site - www.nsacademy.co.uk

 

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