10 Sep 2009

Open University to develop Certificate in Nuclear Professionalism

The Open University and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear has secured funding from the North West Higher Level Skills Partnership to develop a Certificate in Nuclear Professionalism.

The Certificate in Nuclear Professionalism, subject to University approval, will aid in ensuring the transition into the nuclear industry for recent graduates and experienced personnel transferring into the sector is as efficient and effective as possible. The Certificate will be a modular framework, alongside a small element of scientific skills development, with a particular focus on providing the behavioural, commercial and project management skills that are so important to the nuclear sector.

The development of the Certificate in Nuclear Professionalism has been a result of nuclear employer workshops on higher level skills, which have been organised by the Skills Academy at the request of employers to further explore their requirements. The workshops, facilitated by Cranfield School of Management, brought together nuclear employers, Cogent SSC and The Open University.

The £168k funding supplied by the Northwest Higher Level Skills Partnership, will support the development of the framework, some of the key modules and distance learning materials. It will also go towards financing a dedicated Higher Education Development Manager to take this important initiative forwards.

The Higher Education Development Manager will lead, develop and implement the Project in the North West on behalf of the Skills Academy and The Open University. This Project Manager will not only establish the Certificate of Nuclear Professionalism, but will also lead other Skills Academy HE activity including; Foundation Degrees and the HE Network development which will be key to support the effective development and delivery of the Certificate.

Professor Mike Fitzpatrick, Lloyd's Register Educational Trust Chair in Materials Fabrication and Engineering at The Open University said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding to advance the partnership between The Open University and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, to work on the development and delivery of education and training to meet the skills needs of the nuclear sector. The combination of strong employer involvement, our leading methods of distance delivery of educational materials, and the co-ordinating role of the Skills Academy will make a significant impact in skills provision for the nuclear power industries at this time of growth.”

Jean Llewellyn, Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, said: “Employers have been the driving force behind this project, and have clearly articulated the importance of having graduates with a clear knowledge and understanding of both the cultural environment, and the behavioural standards expected when working in the nuclear sector. Indeed, the behavioural skills and the Commercial and Project Management skills are as important to the nuclear sector as the scientific and technical skills. The Skills Academy is working hard to ensure that the Skills needs and requirements of the nuclear sector are catered for. This is a really exciting development for the Skills Academy to work in such an innovative partnership with The Open University and employers.”

Media contact
Additional press and media enquiries should be made in the first instance to Mary Kinsella Communications Manager, National Skills Academy for Nuclear, or 01925 607045.

Notes to Editors
1. The Open University (OU) is the United Kingdom's largest university and the world leader in distance education. More than two million people have studied with the OU since it began in 1969. The OU has more than 200,000 students in over 40 countries studying for a variety of degrees and vocational qualifications ranging from short courses to PhDs.

Independent authorities have consistently ranked the OU in the top five UK universities for teaching quality and virtually all of the University’s research areas have received ratings of national or international excellence. OU students are more impressed with the quality of their courses and the support received than those at any other UK university, based on the findings of the National Student Survey. The OU has been at the top of the rankings every year since the survey began in 2005. Visit

2. The National Skills Academy for Nuclear has been established to create, develop and promote world class skills and career pathways to support a sustainable future for the UK Nuclear Industry.

The Skills Academy puts employers at the forefront of skills development, by providing a means for hands-on involvement in the design and delivery of learning, so that training is tailored to the specific needs of the nuclear sector. Launched in January 2008 the Skills Academy is working with employers and quality assured training providers to address the current and future skills challenges facing the nuclear industry.
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