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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Energus faces of the future

WEST Cumbrian engineering apprentices marked a significant milestone last month as the first cohort to start their training in the world class Energus facility at Lillyhall, Workington.

The 100 apprentices, who are trained by Gen II, will start at Energus on a one-year programme undertaking apprenticeships such as electrical and instrumentation, fabrication, mechanical engineering, nuclear worker, scientific and process, before continuing their training with local employers.

This year the intake marks a double celebration with Gen II’s 10th apprentice group and more than 1,100 learners to undergo apprentice programmes, many of which are trained for Sellafield and other local employers as part of Gen II’s and Sellafield’s commitment to provide education, skills and the development of the Cumbrian workforce.

Until recently West Cumbrian apprentices have been trained in the engineering workshops based at Sellafield.

The Sellafield engineering training centre has a long history spanning more than 30 years and, until the development of the iconic Energus centre, has offered some of the best facilities in the county.

By moving to Energus the apprentices will be trained in state-of-the-art facilities using the latest technology.

Further apprentices are being trained in Gen II’s training centres in Carlisle and Furness.

Mike Smith, managing director of Gen II, said: “We are delighted to welcome our 10th apprentices intake. This is a particularly significant time as we move part of our training operations from the Sellafield centre to the new Energus facility.

“The apprentice training is testament to the strong partnership culture in which our partner companies like Sellafield work with ourselves and agencies such as the Learning and Skills Council and National Skills Academy for Nuclear to deliver some of the country’s best apprentice training, in unrivalled facilities, resulting in 98 per cent of learners moving directly into employment on successful completion of their apprenticeship.

“Our achievement rates are among the top five per cent in the UK and clearly demonstrate the capability and skill level available within Cumbria. I wish the new intake of apprentices well as they embark on their apprenticeship following in the footsteps of many former apprentices now working in senior positions with Cumbrian employers.”

Connor Smith, 16, of Whitehaven, is starting an electrical apprenticeship with Gen II on the community programme and can’t wait to get into Energus’ new workshop. He said: “I wanted to work within the nuclear industry so I knew the best training I’d get for it would be with Gen II.”

Jack Rickerby, 16, of Whitehaven, is also taking an electrical apprenticeship on a 42-month-long programme. He said: “It’s a good opportunity training with Gen II – I love the fact that I’m earning and learning at the same time.”

The apprentices will spend four days a week training at Energus and one day spent at Lakes College undertaking a technical certificate.

Their initial training will involve a basic run-down of the trade including bench fitting and handy skills.

Connor said: “I know that training for a career in the nuclear industry will mean plenty of opportunities for me throughout my career. The nuclear industry is the one to work in.”

Jack said: “To be a successful apprentice you have to show you are eager and hard working. Gen II also look for dedication and people who are good time-keepers.”

Seaton teenagers Nathan Wilcock and Ashton Wilson have also started with Gen II this year.

Former St Joseph’s School pupil, Nathan, 17, said: “I heard nothing but good stuff about Gen II so I was really keen to get through the selection process.

“I learn quicker using more hands-on methods so I knew an apprenticeship would be the right option for me.

“I love the look of Energus – it’s really modern and I’m looking forward to spending a year here.”

Eighteen-year-old Ashton completed her A-Levels before applying for a Gen II scientific apprenticeship.

She said: “I wasn’t put off by the fact that there were more boys applying for the apprenticeships than girls.

“I wanted more hands-on learning than sitting in a classroom so an apprenticeship was the route I wanted to train.

“I think more women should get into engineering – the numbers are rising but girls still need to understand an apprenticeship is accessible to them as well.”

This year’s intake of apprentices includes 15 per cent girls.

Nathan said : “Gen II is a good foundation to start your training and kick-off your career. This isn’t the first time I applied to Gen II – I applied last year but didn’t manage to get in so my determination paid off this time.”

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