Thousands of engineers and technicians are set to be trained at a new college specialising in nuclear energy.
The National College for Nuclear opened on Wednesday and has hubs in Cumbria (Lakes College) and Somerset (Bridgwater and Taunton College).
The facility is one of five National Colleges set up by the government as part of its industrial strategy. The other colleges already open include the College of Creative and Cultural Industries; Digital Skills and High-Speed Rail.
'Challenging and rewarding'
There are currently plans for 12 new nuclear reactors across five sites in the UK which will need at least 6,000 people each year to maintain and run the facilities.
Skills minister Anne Milton said: “The impressive training facilities in Somerset and Cumbria demonstrate what can be achieved when government, employers and providers work together to deliver high-quality education.”
The chair of new college Colin Reed said it was a proud day, adding: “The journey to this point has been challenging and rewarding. We have students in place at both hubs benefiting from high-level vocational education in state of the art facilities that were funded through government vision."
“From this start, we are poised to grow to meet the challenge of nuclear skills in the years to come, both in student numbers at the existing hubs and also as we add further training deliverers at other locations to support the national demand," Mr Reed added.
Industry experts from Sellafield and EDF Energy will work alongside the University of Cumbria and the University of Bristol to train up to 3,500 learners by the end of the decade.