Developing graduate talent for the nuclear sector

Developing graduate talent for the nuclear sector

Bangor-SoR-IntroHorizon Nuclear Power is currently planning to invest c.£10bn in a new nuclear power station, Wylfa Newydd on Anglesey in North Wales.

Bangor University and Horizon, owned by electronics global giant Hitachi Ltd., have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate and work more closely together in future years. This is in order for both parties to better understand the skills and expertise offered by each other and to better appreciate the company's future needs, both for research support and also for graduate talent from a wide range of disciplines.

The MoU enables both parties to explore opportunities and agree joint approaches relating to:

  • Student employability, work and study placements within Horizon;
  • Collaboration and support for research in areas relevant to the company's interests, including potential collaboration in the provision of research facilities;
  • Collaboration in educational engagement with local young people to promote and raise awareness of STEM subjects.

Horizon has been pro-actively supporting the implementation of the above in collaboration with the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN), and the Nuclear Graduates Programme.

Horizon and other nuclear partners have provided briefings across the University to alert academics to the emerging opportunities. These provide staff with a better understanding and appreciation of the nuclear sector and its opportunities, making staff members far better informed to discuss these and advise
students accordingly.

Horizon has also been interacting directly with students at Bangor University. Over 70 students from a range of disciplines, including engineering, chemistry, environmental science, business, law, psychology and geography came together at a student workshop. In addition to emphasizing the diversity of disciplines needed to develop and run a new, modern facility, Horizon worked with students on the 'softer' employability skills and competencies needed to secure good graduate roles in business and industry. Following the workshop, a final year Environmental Science Masters student secured one of the first four permanent graduate jobs at Horizon.

In November 2015, a conference arranged jointly with Horizon brought senior Hitachi-GE Nuclear staff from Japan to Bangor University to speak about their new technologies. As a result of that, it was agreed that Bangor University will seek appropriate potential candidates to engage in Hitachi's own Internship Programme and visit Japan, along with students from Hitachi's other 'target' universities at Imperial, Bristol and Birmingham, in the summer of 2016.

More recently, a group of staff and students undertook the National Skills Academy for Nuclear Triple Bar accreditation, an assessed course that provides the induction and safety training required to work unsupervised on existing nuclear sites. Going forward there are plans to increase the number of graduate placements and internships available within Horizon, as well as undertaking further training for staff and students to accelerate interactions with the Nuclear Industry.

Additionally, Bangor University, with Horizon and NSAN, delivered a well-received joint presentation on their collaboration to an audience of distinguished University, public and private sector leaders at a HEFCW dissemination event. Furthermore the collaboration has been cited as a 'good-practice case study' in HEFCW's recent publication "Insight into Employability: How Welsh Universities Hone Graduate Skills".

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