SPRINGFIELDS, England, October 21, 2016 – Westinghouse Electric Company Springfields held its annual Skills Awards Day to recognise young engineers and employees who have either earned their apprenticeship or achieved academic success in higher education qualifications during the past year. The event took place at the Springfields nuclear licenced site, near Preston.

The apprentice prizes were presented by Simon Marshall, managing director UK Fuel Operations at Springfields. “Westinghouse has chosen Springfields as the centre of its operations in the U.K. and is progressively expanding its engineering services. Together with opportunities in our new build programme at Moorside in Cumbria, Westinghouse offers an exciting future for innovative, young engineers in the nuclear energy industry.”

A total of 13 different awards were presented and the top award, the coveted Westinghouse Guild Trophy for the Apprentice of the Year, went to 21-year-old Tom Woods, who lives in Thornton and is a former pupil of Cardinal Allen High School and Blackpool Sixth Form College.

The Springfields Engineering Apprentice Training programme has operated for over 65 years. Almost 1,850 apprentices have passed through the programme since the first intake of just seven trainees in 1950. Today, 66 apprentices are currently in the programme, of whom 37 are being trained for external companies, including Lyndhurst Precision Engineering, Victrex and the National Nuclear Laboratory at Preston.

For the first time in the Springfields’ apprentice programme’s history, this year’s intake of new trainees also included four Nuclear Engineering Degree Apprenticeships.

Westinghouse UK was invited by government to be involved in a working group to develop the Nuclear Engineering Degree Apprenticeship. It took around 18 months to develop the programme and now Degree Apprenticeships are being introduced into many employer sectors with government support through new funding arrangements.

The apprenticeship is five years in duration and has been validated by Lancaster University. It is designed to allow graduates to undertake a broad range of engineering training and technical specialist roles in the nuclear sector, to ensure that the industry continues to employ highly skilled and professionally qualified personnel and to close anticipated capability gaps for the industry in the U.K.

The Managing Director of Westinghouse UK, Mick Gornall, started his career as an apprentice at Springfields. “The quality of the Springfields Apprenticeship Programme is widely acknowledged by a number of national training and engineering organisations and the Skills Awards Day is one of the top events in the Westinghouse UK calendar.

“One of our biggest challenges is ensuring that we have the skills available to meet future business demands. Our apprentice training programme will be pivotal in ensuring that the company meets this challenge. Some 33 per cent of our current employees began their careers as apprentices, and many of them are now in supervisory or managerial positions.”