Students compete in Big Rig Challenge for National Apprenticeship Week

Three teams of Apprentices have battled it out and tested their limits on a nuclear training rig as part of National Apprenticeships Week. Lakes College hosted the ‘Sellafield Ltd Big Rig Course’ between the 6th to the 10th March. Apprentices completed a number of practical tasks against the clock while being judged by employers.

Apprentices from Lakes College, Sellafield Ltd, Hertel, Prevail Engineering, Sealy, Bottled in Cumbria and Keswick Museum were asked to complete a series of evaporation and distillation tasks that would be carried out in a nuclear environment, focusing on Health and Safety and Human Performance standards. The teams were a mix of disciplines including engineering, electrical and even business administration. The teams spent the week preparing for the events before competing against one another in their challenges.

The overall winners were Team Bravo, who were awarded with a trophy and certificates. Special awards also went to Conor Alexander for Most Improved Team Member, Hannah Kelly won Most Improved Team Leader and Callum Banks received Best Problem-solver. Each award was presented by Sellafield Ltd Human Resources director, Colin Reed.

Scott Holliday, 19, from Flimby, Level 2 welding Apprentice, says, ‘I really enjoyed the week. The competition has been a really good experience, but I’ve definitely found it challenging. The most difficult part was the time pressures that we were put under, but I learned the importance of planning in order to make the job easier. It’s been a really worthwhile experience which I can now adapt into the real world.’

Sophie Weir, 23, from Workington, Nuclear Decommissioning Apprentice from Sellafield Ltd says, ‘It was good mixing with different disciplines, it gives everyone in the chain an insight into what we do.’

Sellafield Ltd mentor Trevor Ivison comments, ‘The week has been fantastic and a wonderful way to pass on knowledge. We wanted to pass on this experience to the next generation.’

Steve Bright, Sellafield Ltd mentor, adds, ‘The rig is great to work on but the most important thing is for the Apprentices to learn to plan and to develop the skills needed in a team environment.’

Les Agnew, Head of Education and Skills at Sellafield Ltd says, “A key aspect to the future success of Sellafield Ltd is to attract the right people to help us deliver the complex nuclear missions that the organisation faces. The Big Rig Challenge Week is an opportunity for the students to understand what we do and to inform them of the choices that a career in the nuclear sector could offer.

“The Big Rig is a fun, informative and stretching initiative that aims to mirror the elation and frustration of completing a real nuclear task, but in a learning environment.”

National Apprenticeship Week ran from 6th to 10th March 2017 and celebrated apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.