Students in Yarmouth and Lowestoft hear of ‘huge opportunities’ in the energy industry

Successful Great Yarmouth College Energy Skills Foundation Programme (ESFP) students. Picture: EEEGR

Successful Great Yarmouth College Energy Skills Foundation Programme (ESFP) students. Picture: EEEGR - Credit: EEEGR

A Bradwell teenager has won a coveted four-year apprenticeship against talented competition from more than 100 other potential nuclear engineers.

Successful Lowestoft College Energy Skills Foundation Programme (ESFP) students. Picture: EEEGR

Successful Lowestoft College Energy Skills Foundation Programme (ESFP) students. Picture: EEEGR - Credit: EEEGR

Bailey Payne, 18, was one of more than 30 students who completed the one-year Energy Skills Foundation Programme (ESFP) at Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft colleges.

And now after three gruelling stages of practical tests, English and maths and science tests and interview, he was thrilled to be offered an apprenticeship with EDF.

Along with his colleagues who were also completing the energy course, Bailey heard how huge career opportunities in the energy industry lay ahead for skilled young engineers.

Speaking at the course's end-of-year celebration East of England Energy Group (EEEGR) chief executive Simon Gray said the East of England was unique in its mix of jobs in the growing offshore wind sector, the 50-year-old gas industry and nuclear as well as marine.

Great Yarmouth College Energy Skills Foundation Programme Student of the Year Caitlin Ann Wright rec

Great Yarmouth College Energy Skills Foundation Programme Student of the Year Caitlin Ann Wright receives her trophy from Nigel Spencer, ECITB director development and quality. Picture: EEEGR - Credit: EEEGR

He said: 'There are huge new opportunities in offshore wind with East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm, the £2bn project being built off our shores by ScottishPower Renewables and RWE's Galloper, as well as SSE, which has the Greater Gabbard Offshore Wind Farm, off our shores because of the shallow water and strong regular wind.'

As well as nuclear at Sizewell and the growing marine industry, there were still '30, 40, 50 years of gas still to come,' despite current problems in the industry, he told the students and their parents.

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The industry-led ESFP course was launched at Lowestoft College in 2009 and Great Yarmouth College in 2012.

Nigel Spencer, director development and quality at the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board, said the course offered students the chance to sample the energy industry before committing long term.

Lowestoft College Energy Skills Foundation Programme Student of the Year Liam Bullard receives his t

Lowestoft College Energy Skills Foundation Programme Student of the Year Liam Bullard receives his trophy from Nigel Spencer, ECITB director development and quality. Picture: EEEGR - Credit: EEEGR

He added the vote to leave the EU meant a skilled UK workforce was even more important than ever.

At the celebration Caitlin Ann Wright was announced as ESFP Student of the Year for Great Yarmouth College.

Caitlin, 17, stood out to lecturers for her commitment, desire to achieve and leadership. She will be seeking an apprenticeship after she completes her level 3 engineering course at Great Yarmouth College next year.

She said: 'I have always wanted to be an engineer. I have always enjoyed practical side of work. I love doing hands on work.'

Great Yarmouth College Energy Skills Foundation Programme Bailey Payne Picture: EEEGR

Great Yarmouth College Energy Skills Foundation Programme Bailey Payne Picture: EEEGR - Credit: EEEGR

Inspired and encouraged by her father, who is a mechanic, the former Ormiston Venture Academy student chose the energy course while her friends chose A levels at sixth form.

Whereas apprenticeship-winner Bailey is preparing to move to Portsmouth in September to start two years' intensive training with EDF before another two years' at Sizewell.

The 18-year-old former Lynn Grove Academy student completed a mechanical maintenance level 2 qualification before staring the ESFP.

He said: 'We had a talk about nuclear by EDF and I knew straight away it was for me and applied for an apprenticeship.

'There were 124 of us applying for four apprenticeships.'

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