Sizewell C could bring jobs, investment and help tackle social problems, say supporters
PUBLISHED: 18:00 28 April 2020
A series of organisations have spelled out why Sizewell C could be a positive development for Suffolk.
Some point to key factors such as the enormous multi-billion pound investment to the economy over a decade and long-term jobs to follow, along with education and skills opportunities, but also how it provides the chance to help tackle social problems such as unemployment which has inflicted some families for generations.
Terry Baxter, CEO of Inspire Suffolk, which specialises in helping young people classed as NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) and pre-NEET young people to move on positively with their lives and into the opportunities available to them, said the organisation is already working alongside Sizewell C as it believes that by delivering a clear education, skills and employment strategy, the power station will have a positive impact on the county and leave a meaningful legacy.
He said: “The programmes we are working on with Sizewell C now will increase work readiness in areas that have seen fifth generational unemployment.
“By introducing courses such as ‘Step Up into Energy’ we can make the most of the growing nuclear and renewable energy sector on the East Coast and give local people access to employers.
“We are reaching people furthest away from the job market and giving them access to well-paid, long term careers which Sizewell C can offer.”
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Stuart Rimmer, CEO/Principal of East Coast College, said the college had already seen “amazing opportunties” at the Sizewell C sister project, Hinkley Point C, and anticipated similar activities in Sufolk.
He said: “For a number of years we have been working alongside EDF to explore challenges and opportunities provided to our local communities through the Sizewell C project.
“We anticipate East Coast College to be a key strategic partner to EDF as a new scheme progresses. The college has already begun to build capability and capacity in advance of potential investments at Sizewell C, including through our £11m Energy Skills Centre, which is creating benefit to adjacent supply chains such as in renewable offshore wind or local small and medium size enterprises in mechanical and electrical engineering.
“The college is also forward thinking in terms of skills and is already developing courses to support retraining into the high paid, high skilled jobs that EDF SZC project will bring – as education and industry work together.”
This has been backed up by Bridgwater and Taunton College, close to Hinkley, which has expanded to serve both the needs of Hinkley Point C and other businesses in the region.
Principal and chief executive Andy Berry said: “We have opened a Construction Skills and Innovation Centre where we have trained 8,000 people to work in the industry and have been proud to launch courses such as the first UK apprenticeship for steel fixers. Furthermore, we have launched an Energy Skills Centre where we deliver courses for this growing sector.”
Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is encouraging EDF to submit its planning application at the earliest possible opportunity to deliver much needed fiscal and skills stimulus to Suffolk and the wider region following the unprecedented economic downturn due to Covid-19. It says Sizewell C will provide a “significant, and much needed, economic boost to the region”.
Hinkley has so far seen £1.3billion spent with companies in the region, 8,626 new jobs on site, 529 apprenticeships created, and £11m spent on local community projects.
Chamber chief executive John Dugmore said: “This once in a lifetime project will further strengthen East Anglia’s position as a key contributor to the Government’s zero-carbon power generation aspirations and so will play a strategic role in building a sustainable economy for decades to come.”
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