Latest News | 5 September 2022

Extra funding secured for Nuclear Skills Academy

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Nuclear AMRC has secured £1.3 million to develop and deliver state-of-the-art training equipment for the new Nuclear Skills Academy in Derby.

Due to open its doors this month, the academy, situated in the iHub, at Infinity Park, will train 200 apprentices a year for Rolls-Royce’s submarine propulsion business.

The cash injection from Innovate UK comes as both Nuclear AMRC and Rolls-Royce prepare to launch the academy to government stakeholders in Parliament on 14 September, as part of the Nuclear Industry Association’s Nuclear Week.

Andrew Storer, chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, said: “There are significant skills shortages across the nuclear sector, and we urgently need to develop a new generation of skilled nuclear engineers to deliver the UK’s commitments for low-carbon power and national security.

“High-quality training needs high-quality equipment tailored to the needs of the industry, and this new funding from Innovate UK helps ensure that apprentices at the Nuclear Skills Academy will be able to develop their skills on state-of-the-art equipment for advanced manufacturing.”

The Nuclear AMRC is part of the UK’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult, a national alliance of seven leading manufacturing research centres backed by Innovate UK.

The new funding, which will support bespoke training equipment and IT facilities, has been provided by Innovate UK to support the Catapult’s work in addressing future skills gaps in key industries.

David Wilkes, director of innovation ecosystem at Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK is working closely with the Catapults to invest in skills development, a critical part of driving innovation and capitalising on emerging technologies.

“The additional £1.3 million funding to Nuclear AMRC for the Nuclear Skills Academy, provided by Innovate UK through the HVM Catapult, will help provide the foundations needed to strengthen the UK’s R&D system to enable recovery and growth across the economy.”

Rolls-Royce is creating an extra 200 apprenticeships each year, for at least the next 10 years, providing a regular flow of new nuclear expertise to support Rolls-Royce’s commitments to the UK submarines programme.

There has been strong interest in the four-year apprenticeships, with more than 1,200 applications for the initial 200 places. Offers have been made to more than 180 people.

Training will be led by the University of Derby, using material developed by the National College for Nuclear – a federation of education providers at further education and higher education levels, providing apprenticeship and training for nuclear projects.

The university is also working to convert the iHub building, which is owned by Derby City Council, into a classroom learning space.

The Nuclear AMRC has occupied workshops and offices in iHub since 2019. Construction is now underway on Infinity Park for a new full-scale home for Nuclear AMRC Midlands.

As well as allowing the Nuclear AMRC to expand its capabilities in areas including digital engineering, equipment qualification, and controls and instrumentation, the new 4,300 sq m facility will also provide a new home to the University of Derby’s Institute of Innovation in Sustainable Engineering.

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