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Tuesday, 02 September 2014

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Project will build on the area’s local skills base

CECONTRACTSIGNING
Signing the contract: Dr Ian Hudson, chair of The Nuclear Academy, signs alongside Keith Denham, chief executive of Thomas Armstrong Holdings

THIS month saw major developments in education and training for West Cumbria with the announcement of a £10 million contract to build the Nuclear Academy and the official launch of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear.

Flimby-based firm, Thomas Armstrong, was awarded the contract to build the Nuclear Academy at Lillyhall, Workington and has pledged to use a local workforce.

In an agreement reached with urban regeneration company West Lakes Renaissance, opportunities will also be organised for the unemployed and trainees.

The state-of-the-art centre of excellence will comprise of a two-storey building with engineering workshops, a lecture theatre, laboratories and meeting rooms. It will have the capacity for 800 people, 250 of those students, and work is due to start shortly on the site, between Jubilee Road and Blackwood Road, with the building due to be completed by spring 2009.

The Nuclear Academy will have a particular focus on supporting activity for the Sellafield site and its local supply chain, as well as developing a range of broader business support activities. Dr Ian Hudson, Academy chairman, said: “We were impressed by the quality of the tender put together by Thomas Armstrong which met fully our specification to construct what we believe will be an iconic world-class facility.

“Securing a local contractor who understands the importance of developments like this to the long-term future of the area gives us the confidence to achieve everything required from this important new facility.”

David Atkinson, managing director of Thomas Armstrong, said: “We are delighted that we have been successful in being awarded the contract to build the Nuclear Academy. We believe that this demonstrates that local contractors can deliver a first-class solution and meet the high standards required by clients. This facility will be delivered by a local team using our highly skilled local workforce.”

Along with other major projects involving West Lakes Renaissance, employment and training opportunities during the construction phase will be developed through the local labour and construction programme Routes To Work.

Bob Pointing, chief executive of West Lakes Renaissance and a board member of the academy, said: “The Nuclear Academy is pivotal to creating a cluster of skills and training opportunities that will keep west Cumbria at the forefront of global nuclear expertise.”

The National Skills Academy for Nuclear was also launched recently by skills minister David Lammy and energy minister Malcolm Wicks at the Science Museum in London.

With the head office of the National Skills Academy due to open in Cockermouth in the next month, the news confirmed West Cumbria as the centre of Britain’s nuclear training industry and a world-class centre for nuclear, energy and environmental expertise. The Nuclear Academy’s chief executive, Andrew King, said: “The Nuclear Academy will be a key driver in delivering world class skills for the nuclear industry in the region.

“Our relationship with the National Skills Academy for Nuclear is pivotal to our business and I look forward to continuing to develop our close working relationship for the benefit of the industry and the wider West Cumbrian community.”

The role of National Skills Academy is to create, develop and promote world-class skills and career pathways to support a sustainable future for the UKs nuclear industry. The National Skills Academy for Nuclear are currently working with nuclear employers to develop a portfolio of world class skills development and training activities for the whole of the UK.

Chairman of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Nick Baldwin, said: “It is essential the industry develops and sustains a highly-skilled workforce to support the delivery of our mission; safely, securely and in an environmentally responsible way.

“The development of a network of skill centres across the UK, coordinated by the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, delivering a portfolio of tailored skills and training packages, will provide a constant stream of highly-skilled workers.

“We will continue to work closely with the Skills Academy, and other partners in the industry, to ensure that the Skills Academy and the network of facilities are successful, but also form part of a wider skills, training and innovation strategy to meet the needs of our industry both in the short and long term.”

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