More apprentices set to join Oxfordshire campus after £13M expansion
A new £13 million state-of-the-art extension has been opened at the UK Atomic Energy Authority's Culham centre near Abingdon, which is aimed at training the next generation of workers in sustainability-focused careers.
The new facility, which adds a further 2,355 sq m of space, represents Oxfordshire Advanced Skills' (OAS) third phase of development and investment at the Oxfordshire campus now totals more than £30 million.
It has been funded by the Fusion Foundations programme - a government initiative to enable the delivery of fusion energy, which can provide sustainable energy for future generations, by developing infrastructure, facilities, and skills in the UK.
Established in 2010, the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) delivers all the training programmes at OAS.
Its managing director David Grailey said: "The extension of OAS is a huge opportunity to seed critically important industries of the future with the talent they need to succeed and contribute positively to the UK economy.
"With strong support from government, our new programmes will enable us to provide more people with the skills they need to make real business impact and have a fulfilling career in engineering, across Oxfordshire and beyond."
The new building was officially opened by UK space industry expert Stuart Martin from Satellite Applications Catapult and the event was attended by several apprentices, representing over 300 current learners working for manufacturing companies in various industries such as motorsport, pharmaceuticals, maritime, space and fusion.
Paige Rivers, a space tech apprentice from Enersys ABSL, said: "I was drawn to OAS by its impressive facilities and the range of equipment, but the extension takes my excitement to the next level!
"I’m really looking forward to being hands on and learning the fundamentals of engineering. I know that this will provide a great opportunity to jumpstart an exciting career in the space sector and I'll be able to bring all my learning from OAS into my new workplace."
The expansion will support the training of 90 extra apprentices and provide high-tech equipment.
OAS can now offer new apprenticeships in automation and space, as well as further upskilling and CPD courses.
OAS is a partnership between UKAEA and the Science & Technology Facilities Council (STFC). Both organisations have trained apprentices across science and engineering for over seven decades.
UKAEA is the UK's national organisation responsible for the research and delivery of sustainable fusion energy. It is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.