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Sizewell C will offer students fantastic opportunity for jobs for generations to come

03 April, 2020 - 14:26
Dan Mayhew, Head Teacher at Alde Valley Academy    Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Dan Mayhew, Head Teacher at Alde Valley Academy Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

What will Sizewell C bring for the young people of Suffolk? Dan Mayhew, principal of Alde Valley Academy in Leiston, looks at the benefits and opportunities for his students and explains ‘Why Sizewell C is for me’.

Alde Valley Academy STEM students taking part in a science challenge competition at Sizewell B  Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHYAlde Valley Academy STEM students taking part in a science challenge competition at Sizewell B Picture: JAMES FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

As the principal of Alde Valley Academy in Leiston, the closest high school to the Sizewell A, B and C sites, I wanted to share my views on the prospect of a new power station nearby.

I support Sizewell C because I believe it will bring a boost to local schools. In fact based on my experience of working with the project and with Sizewell B, I know it will.

The power station delivers regular work experience, mentoring, apprenticeships, training and jobs for our students.

Through Sizewell C our students have met with project managers, construction site managers, planners, scientists and environmental experts.

Sizewell C donates a minibus to Alde Valley Academy so students in rural locations can get to school Picture: TONY PICKSizewell C donates a minibus to Alde Valley Academy so students in rural locations can get to school Picture: TONY PICK

At Sizewell B the engineers, chemists, and many other professionals show the rich array of job possibilities the industry offers – and that these nuclear power station operators live right here, in the towns and villages of East Suffolk.

Meeting people who are in jobs they may want to do inspires our students to aim high and believe in themselves.

This is important. Particularly here, in rural Suffolk.

We need to show young people that they do not have to leave their hometown to find a well-paid highly-skilled job, they can live a fulfilling life here in Suffolk.

Science students from Alde Valley Academy help plant reeds at Aldhurst Farm nature reserve as part of the Sizewell C project Picture: EDF ENERGYScience students from Alde Valley Academy help plant reeds at Aldhurst Farm nature reserve as part of the Sizewell C project Picture: EDF ENERGY

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The new power station will deliver opportunities from construction through to operation. It will broaden horizons and show students the opportunities on their doorsteps to be part of a nationally significant infrastructure project that will help tackle climate change.

Sizewell C is working now to put local students in the best position to work on the project.

By using virtual reality software, we can show students the breadth of jobs that will be available. By working with the Sizewell C project now, we can plan for the future careers.

Sizewell C donates a minibus to Alde Valley Academy so students in rural locations can get to school Picture: TONY PICKSizewell C donates a minibus to Alde Valley Academy so students in rural locations can get to school Picture: TONY PICK

The project has provided funding for the Youth Employment Service centre on the High Street in Leiston, they are working with us to roll out vocational training and they supported our new mini bus to bring students from rural areas to the school.

Through the relationship, we have with Sizewell B and the work we are doing with Sizewell C we can see that the nuclear industry offers Suffolk students a fantastic opportunity for long term jobs for generations to come.

As a local resident myself, who has lived in East Suffolk all my life, I understand the concerns about the construction period. But again, through engaging with EDF, I know that the Sizewell C Project has and is actively working on its responsibilities for the local environment and the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They have created Aldhurst Farm as compensatory habitat for wildlife that could be affected by Sizewell C.

Our Chemistry and Biology students even got involved by planting reeds whilst learning from the project environment experts on the processes and procedures for transforming the landscape.

Whilst acknowledging that nature is resilient and can adapt, of course we must make sure EDF takes its responsibilities seriously.

We can insist that they look after the AONB and deliver benefits to young people and local businesses. Surely we can insist on both? It seems to have worked with the construction and operation of Sizewell B.

I would not be taking my responsibility for the future of our local young people if I didn’t seize this opportunity for them and their future. We don’t just need Sizewell C. We want it.


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