11 Feb 2009

National Skills Academy for Nuclear welcomes The Open University as their first Higher Education Associate Member.

The National Skills Academy for Nuclear today announces its formal association with The Open University. The Skills Academy has been established by nuclear employers to ensure the sector has the skills necessary to meet the many challenges ahead, including; decommissioning, defence, the fuel cycle and both the current operations of and the building and operating the next generation of nuclear power stations. The Nuclear sector will, in the very near future, face unprecedented demand for people with the right skills to support the nuclear sector. In the current climate of economic uncertainty in the UK, the nuclear industry is in the enviable position of needing to recruit between 5,900 to 9,700 Graduates and 2,700 to 4,500 Skilled Trades personnel, over the next ten years alone, to meet the needs of the industry.

A large part of the nuclear industry operates to the standards stipulated by WANO, the World Association of Nuclear Operators and IAEA the International Atomic Energy Agency. The National Skills Academy for Nuclear is keen to embed these standards throughout all of its operations and activities and aims to develop a network of HE partners that will help in the attainment of these world class standards and aspirations across the wider provider network. The University partners will also be crucial in the development of Knowledge Transfer across the Skills Academy network. The Open University will provide access to its broad engineering curriculum, leading to degrees accredited under the Engineering Council.

Working in partnership with top quality providers of both FE and HE is fundamental in ensuring a world class quality standard of training across the nuclear industry, ensuring the sector has a skilled workforce that can operate safely and effectively, and can also meet the future demands of this rapidly changing industry.

Jean Llewellyn Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear said : “We are delighted to welcome the Open University as our first HE Associate Member to the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. It is imperative that the right links are made at this level, to enable the development of a network of HE partners that will help in the attainment of world class standards and aspirations across all provision throughout the Skills Academy network.”

Michael Hush, Engineering Programme Director, The Open University sadi: "We believe that The Open University has much to offer the nuclear sector and this collaboration with National Skills Academy for Nuclear will allow us to deliver our world-class open learning materials to a wide range of students as the industry undergoes a renaissance."

The Open University's Professor Mike Fitzpatrick, Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Chair of Materials Fabrication and Engineering said: "The Open University has active research in the field of nuclear structural materials, including projects in corrosion of fuel cladding alloys, residual stresses in power plant welds, and the high temperature performance of materials for nuclear power plant. Combined with our expertise in supporting higher education in the engineering sector, it was natural for the Open University to take a lead in joining the National Skills Academy for Nuclear. We are looking forward to working with Jean Llewellyn and her team."


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