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Caithness News Bulletins September 2003
TEENAGERS LEAD BRITAIN IN
They are among 21 young people recruited this summer to UKAEA training schemes - the highest intake of young people at the Caithness site for over a decade. Energy Minister Stephen Timms said: "Dounreay was held in the highest regard for the quality of its apprenticeships and training schemes during its operational days, so I am pleased it is maintaining that commitment to the future of young people in the area during its decommissioning phase. The clean-up of Dounreay and other nuclear sites in the UK is a major opportunity to develop British skills and business. The growth in opportunities at Dounreay for young people to learn new skills underlines this."
(From left) Michael Smith, Susan Henderson, Jim Swan, Darren Mackay, Colin Davidson, Hayley Davidson
Peter Welsh, director of UKAEA
Dounreay and a board member of the Sector Skills Development Agency,
said: "Modern apprenticeships are about extending quality
vocational training to areas outwith the traditional craft
apprenticeships, so I'm pleased that Dounreay is breaking new ground in
developing a modern apprenticeship in nuclear operations and
decommissioning that will have application across the whole nuclear
sector. This initiative is being supported by the local
enterprise company CASE, and the sector skills councils that are part
of the Skills for Business
"As we decommission and clean up more of the site, the demand for skilled staff will remain high. And as more sites in the UK and abroad follow in our footsteps along the decommissioning route, the opportunities to export these skills will increase." Decommissioning contractors at the site are interested in joining the initiative. One of this year's pilot intake has been recruited by RWE NUKEM, while the other four have been recruited by UKAEA.
One of them, Hayley Davidson (19) from Keiss, said: "I was studying towards an HND in Mechanical Engineering when I saw the advertisement. Being in at such an early stage of a decommissioning industry that holds so much promise of career progression, not just here but throughout the UK and abroad, was too good an opportunity to miss."
Michael Smith (19) from Thurso, said: "I've read a lot in the papers about how the county, and the world for that matter, needs a lot of qualified people at all levels to safely decommission the legacies of nuclear research and development. I was working in the butchers at a local supermarket before this and I'm optimistic this will be a good career move for me."
Colin Davidson (19) from Wick, said: "I realised there was a growing requirement for people with decommissioning skills and I feel that I will get the right training with RWE NUKEM. This is a great opportunity for me to learn from people with real experience, get a qualification and have long term career prospects here at Dounreay and, well, just about anywhere in the world."
Steve Burness, Head of Site for
RWE NUKEM at Dounreay, said: "As a major local employer, RWE NUKEM has
a long association with UKAEA in training engineering apprentices as well
as being successful in implementing the NVQ
Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise is providing financial assistance towards the Modern Apprenticeships. Chief executive Carroll Buxton said: "Providing high quality training opportunities for young people in our area is a key priority for CASE. The decommissioning of the Dounreay site offers a range of opportunities for young people to gain transferable skills, which will be valuable to them throughout their careers, not only in the nuclear industry but also in other industrial sectors. We are delighted that UKAEA and some of the major contractors are committed to offering apprenticeships and will continue to encourage businesses of all sizes to become involved."
The five young people recruited to
pilot the Modern Apprenticeship in Nuclear Operations and Decommissioning
The apprentices will attend day-release at North Highland College in Thurso to complete the National Certificate in Processing and the City and Guilds Radiation Safety Practice Part One certificate, with the possibility of progression to HNC. They will gain vocational qualifications at both levels 2 and 3, which requires a programme of safety induction backed up by basic training in construction skills, electrical and mechanical safety, UKAEA training courses and personal coaching. Assessment will be carried out at work placements on and off site.
In addition to the four UKAEA Modern Apprentices in Nuclear Operations and Decommissioning, a further 17 people have been recruited to engineering, design, secretarial and scientific apprenticeships and training schemes at UKAEA Dounreay.
The Dounreay Site Restoration Plan published by UKAEA in October 2000 describes some 1500 projects required to decommission and restore the environment of the site over 50-60-years at a cost in the region of £4 billion. It can be viewed at www.ukaea.org.uk. The current total value of nuclear decommissioning work in the UK is estimated to be in the region of £48 billion.