Mercer, Tim and Francis, Jonathan
Education and Industry Partnership: A Case Study of Co-Delivery.
In: 12th International Conference on Environmental Remediation and Radioactive Waste Management, October 11-15, 2009, Liverpool, UK.
One of the essential elements for safe operation of a nuclear licensed site is the availability to the licensee in sufficient numbers of suitably qualified and experienced people to carry out and manage the operations and associated design work. In the last few years, there have been a number of reports to illustrate the recent and current problems of recruiting such people to work in the traditional locations for nuclear personnel in the North-West of England. Concern for the immediate future is exacerbated by a peculiar demographic of the people currently employed in positions demanding higher level skills. In response to the growing realization that there is an impending skills gap that needs to be filled, Sellafield Limited's Talent Management team (and latterly with support of the NDA) have been working with a number of education and training providers to put in place bespoke courses aimed at overcoming this shortage. In the absence of a steady stream of willing graduates from technical and management courses, the primary strategy has been to encourage life-long learning and up-skilling amongst its employees, targeting those who, for whatever reason upon leaving school, missed their opportunity to study and progress to train at a high level, but who possess that potential and have now developed a keenness to proceed with that study in later life. One Foundation Degree has been selected for development of a unique approach to higher education. The work of University of Central Lancashire and its West-Cumbrian education and training partners has featured as a case study in other media, but this paper reports on a fresh development within that work: co-delivery. Co-delivery relates to a partnership of educationalists and industrialists, with an emphasis on industrial numbers on the course development steering group. The means by which a significant proportion of the course is strongly workplace related are presented and the benefits and problems that this introduces are discussed. The course uses the industry as a vehicle to communicate concepts and develop problem-solving skills. Rather than the major vocational aspects being confined to just a few `workplace' modules, the industry permeates all modules and co-delivery is part of a good many. A report is also made on the areas of provision where the major capability and expertise is located in just a few industrialists; and how that aspect is learned within a co-delivery course.