SEVEN apprentices at Hinkley Point B have joined the power station’s ranks of qualified nuclear professionals.
Alexander Hill, Joseph Whittaker, Cameron Werner, Todd Liell, Dominic Sherratt, Hannah Warner and Joshua Kite all completed their four year apprenticeships and have qualified as maintenance technicians.
Haygrove School pupil Alexander, 22, studied engineering at Bridgwater College before joining the EDF apprenticeship scheme.
He said: “Being on site at Hinkley point B has challenged me and brought me out of my shell in ways that I could never have expected, and even though I am no longer an apprentice I am still learning new things every day.“
Cameron Werner applied to join EDF’s apprenticeship programme when he left school. Refusing to be deterred, he re-applied after two years of college and joined the Hinkley team.
The 23-year-old said: “Over my four years I have surprised myself with the amount of knowledge I have acquired. I’ve had a great experience, from moving away to even having the opportunity to visit other countries.
“The apprenticeship has helped me develop new skills which I hope will support me with a long successful career within the industry.”
Joshua Kite, 25, grew up in Cannington and attended Chilton Secondary School before completing A-levels at Bridgwater College.
Following a spell at a local builder’s merchant he earned a place on the EDF apprenticeship scheme. He specialised in control and instrumentation work.
He said: “I learned the fundamental skills of my trade as well as what it means to be an EDF employee. After coming back to site, I have had the opportunity to put those skills into practice and gain experience. It has been a busy two years getting my qualifications.”
Former Heathfield Community School pupil Todd Liell, 20, also graduated. He said: “During the four years of my apprenticeship I have gained many skills and my confidence has grown massively.”
The unique training opportunity at Hinkley Point B has also attracted apprentices from well beyond Somerset.
Dominic Sherratt, 22, grew up in Torbay in South Devon and was studying at grammar school before joining the station’s apprenticeship programme in 2017.
He said: “After joining I moved to Portsmouth for the first two years of the apprenticeship and I made some great friends. I had a lot of fun and learnt the fundamental knowledge and skills in order to start my career in the nuclear energy sector.”
Also recently completing the programme was Joseph Whittaker, 28. After enjoying two years of college in Portsmouth Joseph returned to Hinkley Point B in 2019 and was able to put what he’s learned to practical use.
He said: “Being back on site the final two years of the apprenticeship was ideal for seeing in person, the plant and equipment I learnt about in college. The team at Hinkley Point B have been encouraging of my development and I’ve never felt I couldn’t speak to anyone if I was unsure.”
Hannah Warner, 21, grew up in Nottinghamshire and started her career working at one of the company’s coal-fired generating sites. But things changed for the keen artist when EDF transferred all apprentices to the nuclear side of the business and Hannah was relocated to Hinkley Point B.
Bridgwater now home
She said: “At first it was a bit of a shock but now I have made Bridgwater home now and being at Hinkley has enabled me to continue learning skills which will be vital for my future career.”
Peter Evans, Station Director of Hinkley Point B said: “This station has a long proud tradition of taking on apprentices and training them with the skills they’ll need to support this vital industry for decades to come.
“This cohort of apprentices has the, almost, unique distinction of completing most of their apprenticeship during the extraordinary period of Covid.
“This makes their successes all the more impressive and I’m delighted to say they’re all now full members of the Hinkley Point B team.”