PPS Electrical and Lakes College have created a tailor-made solution to address the North West nuclear skills shortage by ensuring all students can move straight from the classroom to working on-site.
 
The electrical and instrumentation contractor, who count Sellafield among its major customers and have up to 250 employees at the facility at any one time, realised that investment in key equipment, training and resources were required to close the skills gap and ensure workforce demands are met.
 
Lee Savage, construction manager at PPS Electrical, commented, “We have been working with Lakes College since their excellent new facility opened almost ten years ago and the course and lecturers are fantastic, but an audit visit last year identified gaps in knowledge and equipment which stopped students going straight from class to site.”
 
To address the issue Savage approached several key supply chain partners including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) specialist Arco, trade retailer Edmundson Electrical, global construction products manufacturer Hilti and industry training provider JTL, as well as major regional customer Sellafield.
 
“The proposal was a collaboration, whereby Sellafield would be involved for the first time to educate classes and spell out the very demanding nature of working at a nuclear facility, as well as give the students the products to meet these strict requirements,” continued Savage.
 
“We worked closer with our long term training partners JTL to identify all the training gaps and approached businesses for support. The course content was improved, Hilti donated over £8,000 worth of new tools to the electrical workshop, Arco supplied PPE and Edmundsons assisted with electrical resources.
 
“Three classes totaling 75 students will be undertaking the course this year, with 25 placed at the end of the course but naturally we wish to help them all by giving them the very best start. Looking forward the future is bright for everyone involved.”
 
An open day was held at the Lakes College Fresher’s Fair to celebrate the work being done to support the college and address the skills shortage. Attendees included VIPs from local government including the Mayor of Allerdale Borough Council, Sellafield, Shepley Engineers as well as other national and local contractors.
 
Daniel Braithwaite, assistant principal at Lakes College, concluded, “Fostering partnerships is a key ingredient to creating opportunities for skills development and subsequently employment in the local area. Through this collaboration we will not only raise the profile of career pathways in the industry and supply chain but also demonstrate how organisations can effectively align their resources to meet technical skills demands.
 
“Providing access to the highest quality tools, materials and equipment during training programmes will not only accelerate technical skills development but act as an incentive for others to participate. With our partners we are committed to preparing a workforce that is equipped to meet the high expectations of employers and support the development of the local economy during times of significant opportunity.”