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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Sellafield apprenticeships are 'industry leading' say experts

Sellafield Ltd’s apprenticeship has been called ‘industry leading’ by an independent panel

Six of the apprenticeship training schemes provided by the company have become the first in the country to receive formal accreditation from the Nuclear Institute and the National Skills Academy Nuclear.

Accreditation has confirmed apprentices receive sufficient safety training in a nuclear environment.

The panel was made up of three nuclear experts who looked at the content of the programme to assess if the nuclear side is being kept as a priority as well as teaching technical aspects of the job.

The latest schemes to be approved are craft focused, including engineering maintenance, mechanical, engineering, instruments and control, welding, fabrication, machining, and pipe fitting.

Training manager Steve Bewsher said: “The panel of representatives from the Nuclear Institute and the National Skills Academy Nuclear scrutinised our craft apprenticeship programmes, looking at the safeguards we build into the programme to make sure our apprentices work safely.

“They were keen to see that we were training our apprentices to be the right people to maintain our systems in the future, and this accreditation gives us a lot of confidence that we are doing things right.”

It now means seven out of the 14 apprenticeships offered have been accredited, and the company is now in talks to see what scope there is to assess others.

Collaboration manager for National Skills Academy Nuclear Andy McIvor said: “Whether the apprentices get to apply their skills within a nuclear context is also explored, as is their attitude to nuclear safety. Finally, the panel looked at whether the programme fully assesses each apprentice to make sure they can apply the skills they have learned.”

The panel also spoke to the team leading the course, the apprentices’ managers and mentors, and assessed how the programme works for stakeholders within Sellafield Ltd.

Mr McIvor added: “The apprentice scheme is industry leading, producing engineers who can work in a nuclear environment with skills above and beyond what would be required in most organisations.”

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