Grant to tackle engineering skills gap helping create workforce of the future

16th February 2018

The first cohort of learners at the newly opened SGS Berkeley GREEN Campus have been making the most of the site’s new facilities.

The site, which originally opened in 1961 to service and support the UK’s nuclear power stations, underwent extensive renovations to be repurposed as a state of the art site for education and business.

The impressive engineering workshop is being put to good use by the young learners who started studying at the campus this September. The workshop has been kitted out with equipment including millers, lathes, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines, as well as other types of equipment, which was purchased by the College with a grant from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) of over £200,000.

After more than 50 years on site, Magnox bid farewell to Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories in September 2016, when redevelopment of the site began, relocating to Oldbury Technical Centre.

The campus now houses some of the best training facilities in the country for Built Environment, Welding, Engineering and Digital Technologies. Provision covers full and part- time training to learners from the age of 14 upwards including apprenticeships, adult re-training programmes and degree level learning.

Site Director at Berkeley GREEN, George Ridd, comments: “The financial donation that the College received from the NDA grant has enabled the college to expand its workshop facilities with state of the art machinery. This gives learners the opportunity to work on modern equipment, which is vital for their progression into employment. The development of these facilities also supports engagement with local employers who can see that their apprentices are learning on equipment that is familiar in the workplace environment.”

Jonathan Jenkin of the NDA said: “This is the first time in the UK that former nuclear facilities have been reused for educational purposes. Both the college and the industry park will make a positive contribution to the local area for many years beyond the life of the Berkeley site. We’re pleased to see the first cohort of students making the most of the new equipment.”

To show off the new facilities to the public, SGS College will be holding open events throughout 2018. The next event is scheduled for Wednesday March 21st, 5:30 – 8:00pm.

There will also be a series of community fairs and workshops scheduled at a later date, where tech-savvy teenagers can try their hand at a variety of engineering and cyber activities.