Sizewell: Fears that only the menial jobs like ‘concrete pouring and cleaning’ will be offered to local residents when power plant project gets underway
PUBLISHED: 14:43 11 April 2014 | UPDATED: 14:43 11 April 2014
Fears have been voiced that the proposed £14billion Sizewell C project will create few jobs for the people of east Suffolk – except the most menial.
Community leaders have been invited to meet with bosses at EDF Energy to discuss their concerns, with the company keen to allay worries and explain the construction workforce and future job opportunities.
Managers have robustly defended their plans and say they are investing in education and want to ensure students in the area are qualified to work at the nuclear power station.
Leiston-cum-Sizewell town councillor Bill Howard said he was worried the jobs for local people would be low-skilled and amount to little more than “concrete pourers or cleaners”.
He said at peak construction for the plant there would be 5,600 workers – 3,000 of them would live on a campus nearby, suggesting they would not be local, while up to 1,700 would be put up in lodgings, and only around 1,000 would commute each day from Suffolk.
Mr Howard said: “It doesn’t leave many jobs for Leiston people.
“I am concerned about the quality of jobs which will be created – I don’t see much training for the better jobs going on.”
EDF Energy says that 900 people will be employed in operating Sizewell C.
The company is working in close partnership with schools, colleges, businesses, training providers, local authorities and central government to build education programmes and encourage and enable people to acquire the necessary skills.
Tom McGarry, communications manager for the Sizewell C project, said: “It’s a no-brainer. The more people from Suffolk Coastal and wider Suffolk working on this project the better – this project can only benefit this area and its economy.
“It’s heartening to hear parishes and towns raise these issues. At EDF we welcome engagement on education, jobs and skills but we have not heard anything from Leiston-cum-Sizewell Town Council since the first consultation.
“We are having meetings with education officers and employment officers, and strategic planners at the county council about the skills which will be needed and what investment we can make to improve them, and we would be happy to get round the table with Leiston councillors, too, on this.”
EDF says a key benefit for the community will be the high quality employment and training it would generate.
Skills in science and technology will be in high demand and apprenticeships would be offered to people with qualifications in the STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering and maths.
It stressed that skills will also be needed in a wide range of other areas – from business administration to carpentry, hospitality to catering.
Those involved in construction will also be encouraged to re-skill and up-skill to be involved in a number of different roles and to gain skills which can be used elsewhere afterwards.