More than 100 apprenticeships have being created at Sellafield Ltd, the company responsible for decommissioning and cleaning up Europe’s most complex nuclear site.
The new recruits, who are mostly aged between 16 and 18, start on the programme next week and will undergo three and a half years of training with a job in the nuclear industry guaranteed for all who complete their courses.
Sellafield Ltd runs apprenticeships across a range of skills, including electrical, mechanical and business administration.
For the first time this year, it also has programmes in project management and health physics.
The majority of the 113 posts are based at the Sellafield site in West Cumbria, with a further eight new apprentices taking up roles at the company’s office near Warrington, in Cheshire.
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for further education, skills and lifelong learning, Matthew Hancock MP, said: “Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to get the skills and training they need for sustainable careers where they’ll have the opportunity to earn a good wage.
“It is fantastic news that Sellafield Ltd is providing opportunities for young people to get the skills they need for a career in the energy sector.
“Big companies have a duty to train and develop local workforces, and I am delighted that Sellafield Ltd is honouring its obligations by investing in a training program which will not only benefit the company long term but which also provides opportunities for young people in the communities in which the company operates.”
The Sellafield site, which opened in the 1940s, was home to the UK’s nuclear weapons program, the world’s first commercial nuclear power reactor and various nuclear fuel storage facilities.
Created by nuclear pioneers, the challenge of cleaning it up has fallen upon the modern generation of nuclear workers, and Sellafield Ltd now employs over 10,000 people.
Managing Director Tony Price said: “People often think of Sellafield and think that we are a decommissioning site which, by definition, should be winding down.
“But the reality is that cleaning up the UK’s nuclear legacy, some of which dates back to the cold war, will take decades to complete, which means there are jobs and opportunities here for many years to come. That’s why we are so keen to invest in a young, local workforce which will be essential to us going forward. This is a record intake for us but apprentice numbers have increased over the last five years, and will continue to.”
Elaine Woodburn, leader Copeland Borough Council Leader, which covers Sellafield, said; “It is positive news that Sellafield is taking on a record number of apprentices in a wider range of specialisms.
“We have long advocated the use of skills from the local area, and Sellafield’s apprentice scheme does just that – setting our young people on the path to a skilled career in the energy sector.
“The opportunities that exist for young people who take part in the scheme are significant, especially when you consider the need for nuclear power stations to help us meet our energy needs in the future alongside the decommissioning work which Sellafield will be undertaking.”