Sizewell C chief: What this project can do for Suffolk and why it must move ahead
- Credit: Archant
The plan for Sizewell C has now been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate – which means it can move to the next phase of the process. Humphrey Cadoux Hudson, managing director of Sizewell C, explains why he believes it is important the project moves ahead.
After eight years of public consultation, the planning application for Sizewell C was ready to be submitted at the end of March but we paused by two months because of the coronavirus. We only submitted the application when the Planning Inspectorate and local authorities confirmed they were ready.
We are pleased to note it has now accepted the Sizewell C planning application for examination.
We have been working in the county for many years, with education leaders and organisations like the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, to make sure local people and businesses have the best opportunity possible to gain good quality jobs and contracts.
Sizewell C will deliver thousands of high-skilled jobs. We will create 25,000 job opportunities and 1,000 apprenticeships during the construction of the power station. Some are expected to join us during the construction phase and stay with us during the operation of the power station.
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When we have completed construction we will need 900 people to operate Sizewell C. The station will run for at least 60 years: that means decades of skilled, sustainable work in well paid jobs for local people.
I know some people have claimed that people in Suffolk won’t benefit from jobs created during construction. This is not true. About a third of the workforce will be local people in jobs ranging from construction supervisors through to welders and steelfixers. Colleges in Suffolk are preparing the pathways into these jobs now.
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The project will provide opportunities in a wide range of professions for people to grow and progress. There are plenty of opportunities to earn while you learn and to join us an apprentice or graduate. It is not unusual for someone to join as an apprentice and retire as a station director because the industry provides training and development throughout their career.
The investment we will make in training, skills and education will provide and support clearer pathways for people into employment at all entry levels.
We will offer a Jobs Service, just as we do with our Hinkley Point C project in Somerset, where we will match local people that want to join us with jobs on the project. Sizewell C will offer an opportunity for everyone seeking a fulfilling career and we are working alongside the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and others to break down barriers to employment in the region.
We also continue to work with Inspire Suffolk and Access Community Trust in community hubs in Leiston, Ipswich, Lowestoft, Saxmundham and Woodbridge. The centre in Leiston provides a Youth Employment Service too. Pre-employment training and outreach initiatives will maximise opportunities for economically disadvantaged and hard-to-reach groups and will help them to gain life enhancing career opportunities.
We have been working with schools and colleges with colleagues at Sizewell B and we will build on this progress to develop a Young Sizewell C programme. This will inspire those in or leaving education to find the right pathway for them into employment.
Hinkley Point C shows us just how much good this project can bring to Suffolk and the wider region. More than 640 apprentices have now been trained at Hinkley Point C and over half are taking on training at Level 2 and above.
We will continue to work with organisations such as New Anglia LEP and Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to support the growth of the local economy without disadvantaging sectors such as tourism and hospitality which we know are important to the region.
We take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and our proposals will provide a biodiversity net gain to the area and a tourism fund to address potential impacts. We want local businesses to benefit from the project. Our skills strategy is linked to our supply chain strategy – we want to help up-skill job seekers and young people in Suffolk so the whole economy benefits, not just the Sizewell C project.
The latest figures from Hinkley Point C show that over £1.6bn has been spent with South West companies to date. We want the same for Suffolk businesses.
The supply chain portal for Sizewell C is up and running with the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and over 1,400 firms have already registered their interest in working with us. We will be working with the Suffolk Chamber, which has built an ambitious, experienced and enthusiastic Sizewell C Supply Chain Team, to show local companies how they can apply for significant contracts, which might have otherwise been out of reach, by working collaboratively.
So Sizewell C will be good for this region but it is also important in the battle against climate change. The station will deliver low carbon power for 6million homes and support the growth of renewables. It will run for 60 years and save 9million tonnes of Co2 emissions for every year of operation. That, combined with the positive legacy of jobs, skills and employment for local people means it can be a force for good both locally and globally.
The full planning application will be available on the Sizewell C website from 8 July and the public will be able to read the proposals and register their interest with the Planning Inspectorate.