6 ISSUES FOR JUST £6 Subscribe to Business & Professional Life today CLICK HERE

SGS Berkeley GREEN: Moving through history to regenerate skills development for the future

PUBLISHED: 11:05 21 September 2017

SGS Berkeley GREEN

SGS Berkeley GREEN

Archant

As a new academic year begins, a college campus in Berkeley, The Gloucestershire Renewable Energy, Engineering and Nuclear (GREEN) Campus, has welcomed its first cohort of students

Following extensive renovations and installation of new, state of the art facilities the site is now home to SGS College’s first group of learners, studying digital technologies (cyber security) and engineering at the brand-new Berkeley GREEN College and University Technical College (UTC).

To discover how the site’s legacy can inspire a new generation, you have to go back to 1957 when the Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB) was set up to run power stations in England and Wales.

The Berkeley Nuclear Laboratories (BNL) was opened in 1961 to service and support the Board’s nuclear power stations. A wide range of science and engineering research topics were tackled at the Labs, often at a fundamental level, in support of the nuclear power stations across England and Wales.

Much of the work attained worldwide recognition and formed the basis for future research into electricity generation using nuclear power.

About 750 staff worked at BNL with about 200 professional scientists and engineers supported by highly qualified technicians, skilled designers and craftspeople, together with the necessary administration staff.

Berkeley Nuclear Power Station was completed in 1962, producing 276 Mega Watts of electricity with two Magnox reactors.

After years of success, enthusiasm for nuclear power started to wane and research activities were tailed off. The centre emptied and decommissioning began, followed by demolitions and clean-up of the land.

The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) took on ownership when it was established in 2005, and began to oversee lifting of all the nuclear-related regulations that prevented the site from being re-used. Initial options were mainly focused on wholesale demolition, with an estimated cost of around £8 million, and marketing the cleared land for business use. Many discussions and assessments later, in 2015, the land and its remaining buildings were instead leased to SGS on a long-term basis.

The NDA’s Head of Property Services David Atkinson said: “This is, essentially, a site restored and mission accomplished. We are delighted that the vision of stakeholders, as expressed during consultations some years ago, will be realised.

“The potential for using these redundant facilities for educational purposes was not always obvious, however, and we did once draw up plans to demolish the buildings.

“The college’s plans are exciting and ambitious, supporting the UK drive to excel in science and engineering, while also building on Berkeley’s nuclear history. We look forward to seeing the first students welcomed onto the campus and enjoying their studies.”

From September 2017, the redeveloped site will offer some of the best training facilities in the country for Built Environment, Welding, Engineering and Digital Technologies, with full and part- time training on offer to learners from the age of 14 upwards including apprenticeships, adult re-training programmes and degree level learning. The new College campus and UTC, is seen as a major step forward to encourage a new breed of young engineers.

The redevelopment also brings new business opportunities to the area, offering 300,000ft2 of commercial floor space consisting of office premises, workshops, laboratories, conference rooms and more.

The Berkeley GREEN Campus is a joint venture between GFirst LEP and SGS College. Speaking of the partnership, David Owen, Chief Executive of GFIRST said: “Gloucestershire needs a ready supply of the next generation of talent to support and continue to grow our great engineering and renewable energy businesses. Berkeley GREEN will provide the training and skills base to support these sectors. It will also facilitate the creation of a UK-leading energy cluster, bringing together global businesses and start-ups to drive innovation and skills in Gloucestershire and across the country.”

Kevin Hamblin, Chief Executive of the SGS Group, explains the philosophy behind the new training centre: “When I took up post of CEO of SGS, with a remit of ensuring the College was employer-facing, it was clear from everyone I spoke with that Gloucestershire had a problem with the lack of skilled employees in some priority areas, which were not being met by the current post-16 providers. Engineering and Cyber Security were two sectors that were either essential to the local economy and/or set to grow considerably over the medium term.

“Colleges are funded to deliver a wide number of courses and I felt we could do more to support these priority sectors and begin to bridge this gap by increasing the profile of Engineering and Cyber Security in Gloucestershire, but the truth was there was little demand coming from schools and, therefore, SGS in Stroud was not heavily into either area – a picture mirrored across the County.

“Why are these well-paid, relatively secure and essential sectors such as Engineering and Cyber not in demand by school leavers? Why are young people – and their parents – not recognising the potential career pathways? The sad truth is that there was really nothing to inspire them in a school setting. The national curriculum is designed to provide a broad academic route. Technical education at 14-16 is slowly being eroded as school funding reduces the options to deliver just the core subjects – as important as they are. But young people do not always have the opportunity to make things, to explore interests or even to consider a specific career beyond A Levels and a university place.

“The challenge was to find funding to provide a new institution with an inspirational setting, which could support this interest in Engineering and Cyber from the age of 14: an institution which would work with employers in both the content of the students’ educational journeys, and also in setting real-world projects, meaningful work placements and, ultimately, to employ these young people.

“This is now becoming a reality, with the £14m SGS Berkeley GREEN campus and University Technical College (UTC) initiative. Our original aim was for 40 14-year-olds to accept places in September. Astonishingly, that number has risen over 100, with 20% being female.

“SGS wanted to make a difference. Berkeley GREEN will meet the demands of employers if employers step up and join us. We hope they will see the benefits of the new campus and support it as best they can in these very interesting times.”

Open events for the new campus are scheduled throughout 2017/18, with the first taking place Saturday September 30, 10:00-13:00, where visitors can discover the vast array of learning opportunities, speak with course specialists, take part in a range of hands on activities, and take a tour of the impressive facilities.

Another event to note is the business breakfast on Friday September 29 being run by Business West and SGS. For further information and to register, click here.

There will also be a series of community fairs and workshops scheduled at a later date, where tech-savvy teenagers can try their hand at a variety of engineering and cyber activities.

For more information on what SGS Berkeley GREEN has to offer visit sgscol.ac.uk/berkeleygreen or berkeleygreenutc.org.uk.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Cotswold Life

Fri, 12:03

The Cotswolds are abundant with picture perfect locations ideal for a ramble. Gather loved ones, wrap up warm and blow away the cobwebs with one of these winter walks in the region

Read more
Fri, 11:53

Helping clients through divorce, separation and disputes over children, we talk to 8 divorce lawyers in the Cotswolds

Read more
Fri, 11:52

We’ve some extraordinary, and inspiring, women in business in the Cotswolds. We talk to 7 female trailblazers in local industry who offer the business advice they’ve lived by

Read more
Wed, 16:26

Swan Lake. We know the music, we know the iconic imagery of the beautiful ballerina dressed as a swan, but I’m guessing that without reading the libretto in the program, most people don’t know the story. Which is why the audience relies on the dancers to tell us.

Read more
Wed, 11:00

Tom and Louise are being joined by other new academic appointments that have been made as part of the RAU’s £2.5 million initiative to help meet the future needs of the land management and agri-food sectors

Read more
Wed, 10:46

“To win this prestigious award is a real compliment to the wider team in Renishaw’s manufacturing services operation, particularly when we consider the achievements of the other excellent shortlisted companies.”

Read more
Tue, 17:16

Stepping up to receive the world’s first MBA Leading Business degrees at the ceremony were Sarah Bryars, Chief Executive of Target; Luke Freeman, Joint Chief Executive of MF Freeman; and Linsey Temple, Chief Executive of Gloucestershire Engineering Training

Read more
Tue, 17:04

“I am thrilled to see InfoSec People win this fantastic award which is a testament to the brilliant team we have built in the past few years.”

Read more
Tue, 16:36

After a stress-free shopping experience browsing designer brands this Christmas? Look no further than the luxury offerings of Mailbox in Birmingham

Read more
Tue, 10:24

This year sees the 40th anniversary of the publication of Raymond Briggs’ original picture book The Snowman. With three performances of the animated film – with live orchestra – coming to Gloucester Cathedral next month, we thought we’d catch up with Rachel Whibley, managing director of Carrot Productions (and occasional snowman), to find out more...

Read more
Mon, 14:10

It’s the season of terrible puns, magic lamps, and generous genies: Aladdin, the all-new panto at the Everyman, has been written by none other than legendary Blue Peter presenter Peter Duncan, and stars everyone’s favourite clown, Tweedy. The Barnard family from Nailsworth - mum, dad, Harriet (12) and Lewis (6) - made a Wishee (Washee) for tickets; grabbed their car (Window Twan) keys; and dashed off to see A Ladd In Cheltenham

Read more
Mon, 13:45

Crispy, frosty days and perhaps even a dusting of snow, winter is a magical time in the Cotswolds. If you’re thinking of tying the knot during this beautiful season in the region, here are six winter wedding ideas to help you start planning your special day

Read more

Christmas in the Wilson household is a heartwarming, traditional family affair

Read more
Mon, 13:15

Tracy Spiers takes an impressive, if hypothetical, budget on a shopping spree in Cheltenham’s independent stores

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search