The £7.5 million National College for Nuclear is due to be officially opened today.

The college, at Lillyhall, near Workington, will train thousands of technicians and engineers to support Britain’s future nuclear programmes, create cleaner energy and provide a highly skilled workforce.

The National College for Nuclear will have hubs in Cumbria and Somerset and facilities which include virtual, simulated laboratories.

It is one of five national colleges being established by government as part of its Industrial Strategy.

National colleges bridge the gap between further education colleges and university, getting its students ready for the workplace.

The centres of high-tech training, the Government says, will ensure the UK has skilled people in industries crucial to economic growth – high speed rail, onshore oil and gas, digital skills and the creative industries and nuclear.

The nuclear sector will see the development of 12 new reactors across five sites in the future, and with around 6,000 people each year needed for technical and professional roles, the National College for Nuclear will key part of producing the workforce and expertise required.

Combining theoretical work with hands-on experience, the curriculum has been designed specifically for the nuclear industry and its supply chain and they have had input into it.

Because it is funded by the Department for Education, the new college is involved in the pilot of the T-levels, revealed in the last Budget by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Anne Milton, apprenticeships and skills minister, said: "This college will provide our nuclear industry with the highly skilled engineers, scientists, technicians it needs to grow – as well as giving more people the opportunities they need to get on in today’s competitive job market.

Sellafield Ltd and EDF Energy will work alongside the University of Cumbria and the University of Bristol to train up to 3,500 learners by 2020.

Colin Reed, chairman of the National College for Nuclear, said: "The journey to this point has been challenging and rewarding.

"From this start we are poised to grow to meet the challenge of nuclear skills in the years to come, both in student numbers at the existing hubs and also as we add further training deliverers at other locations to support the national demand."