C&I’s leader in issue 23 highlighted a shortfall in adequately qualified and experienced specialists in a number of areas including the nuclear industry. Now, two universities have been selected by the UK’s National Skills Academy to jointly develop and deliver foundation degrees that are needed in the nuclear sector and help resolve the skills shortfall.
The universities of Central Lancashire and Portsmouth will work together with the Skills Academy, led by employers in the nuclear industry, and other interested parties to offer vocational foundation degrees to school leavers, new entrants and those who are retraining. The courses will address the requirements of the nuclear sector and reflect the ‘Pyramid’ model used by the industry to identify its recruitment needs, from apprenticeships through to research.
The courses are designed to offer higher education to entrants with a wide variety of starting points, accommodating differing levels of academic achievement, skills and experience including apprenticeships, access programmes and NVQs. They will provide students with the opportunity to progress to final year bachelor degrees with honours, professional qualifications and higher NVQs.
In 2006, the University of Central Lancashire, which is geographically close to the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria, UK, launched the UK’s first foundation degree in nuclear decommissioning. Calder Hall Magnox power station, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, is on the Sellafield site and is presently being decommissioned.