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Gloucestershire Business News

Firm saves 21 apprentices from redundancy

A major Gloucestershire business has come to the rescue of nearly two thirds of the 33 apprentices laid off by its near neighbour.

News that Horizon Nuclear Power was to lay off all 380-plus of its staff came as a bolt out of the blue for many who assumed its name would be at the heart of the British energy sector for years to come.

Among those laid off by the Gloucester-headquartered Japanese-owned firm - many officially leaving their positions in March - were 33 apprentices.

But in what could be called a silver lining to an otherwise dark cloud, 21 of those apprentices have secured new positions at another Gloucester-based firm, EDF Energy. The rest have also found placements.

"We are pleased to be able to support the future training and development of these apprentices," said Helen Higgs, head of organisational capability, Hinkley Point C, the Somerset site of the firm's new-build nuclear power station where the apprentices will be based.

"Once their training is complete, the apprentices will have access to future opportunities throughout the civil nuclear industry, including future nuclear projects in Wales.

"We have an aspiration to create 1,000 new apprenticeships throughout the course of the project and this new cohort will join almost 400 other apprentices that have already been trained to date."

The apprentices will join EDF Energy and work towards either a Nuclear Engineering Degree Apprenticeship or an Engineering and Maintenance Apprenticeship.

EDF's Somerset project is described as Europe's largest nuclear development project.

Those not joining EDF Energy, but keen to stay in the energy sector will continue their training at Coleg Menai's recently opened, world-class Canolfan STEM centre and carry out work experience at Doosan Babcock, a company which works closely with EDF Energy 's existing nuclear power stations in the UK.

For several apprentices, aerospace engineering was their chosen direction and they will now join Babcock International.

This scheme will see them stay in North Wales, where they'll have the chance to work with Hawk aircraft at RAF Valley.

Sasha Davies, Head of Stakeholder Engagement (Wales) at Horizon Nuclear Power, said: "It was important to us that we found our fantastic apprentices opportunities to continue their studies in similar roles such as those with EDF Energy.

"While we're suspending the Wylfa Newydd Project for now, making sure our apprentices can continue their career development was essential in delivering on our commitment to support local engineers of the future and we're delighted all 33 have now found new schemes."

Read more: Company confirms 380 job losses 

Read more: Hopes of tempting in big business after Horizon's departure 

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