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08 December 2016
Cumbria Nuclear News & Views - It isn't only me!
Well this is my very last blog of 2016. I can't believe another year has flown by, time really waits for no man! There is no denying that this past year has been a tough year in the industry. I have been in the industry for 8 and half years now (I am not as old as a lot of you) and I have to say this is the hardest I have ever known it. Many companies have made numerus redundancies, there have been many sleepless nights over when the work will flow, and people have watched teams they worked so hard to build disband due to such a lack of work. We have heard over and over again that Sellafield are spending, and I don't doubt they are, but the supply chain don't seem to be benefiting in any way. It isn't just the tier 3's and 4's struggling but even the large tier 2's aren't getting enough for them to be sustainable. We have seen many companies move to the area with the hope of winning work and then quickly retreat when they realise it isn't going to happen. Paul Foster told the whole supply chain at the beginning of the year that we should all be diversifying as Sellafield is changing hugely and it also seems to be trying to further utilise its staff to self- deliver.
However, it isn't all doom and gloom. Martin Chown has come in as Supply Chain Director and has made some brave promises, which I hope he can deliver on. DDP looks like it is going to start spending and ISA has good pipelines for 2017. This coming year should see further momentum on the Market Enhanced model - strategic partner, which should hopefully give more opportunity to businesses. I guess when times are tough it teaches us as businesses to become more nimble and agile. We learn to adapt and to focus our business in the direction it needs to go to remain sustainable. Change is hard but embracing it will make the difference between success and failure. Having personally experienced some really hard situations in my personal life I have learnt that if you feel like you are at the bottom of where you can possibly be and you can't take anymore – then the only way is up. So, keep the faith, keep believing and keep working hard. 2017 could just be your year!
Any way enough of my rubbish and on with the blog:
Sellafield has been selected by Government to act as a "trailblazer" for new project management apprenticeships.
Over the past year Sellafield has been working alongside BEIS, and other employers including: Rolls Royce, Transport for London, Lloyds Banking Group, Balfour Beatty, training providers, education awarding bodies and the Association for Project Management (APM) to develop the new and improved national project management apprenticeship.
The new employer-designed apprenticeship standards must be short, easy to understand and able to describe the knowledge, skills and behaviour that an individual needs to be fully competent in an occupation.
This is the latest step in the government's 'Trailblazer ' scheme, and forms part of their plans to deliver three million new apprenticeships by 2020 by giving employers a greater say in designing high-quality apprenticeships that meet the needs of employers.
HM Government published a new set of standard tender questions on 26th September 2016 which will be asked on all Sellafield Ltd tenders. Suppliers need only answer these questions once as CTM will remember these responses and display them on future tenders.
To enable suppliers to complete these responses without the pressure of a tender deadline Sellafield Ltd has published a 'dummy' tender in 'Current tender opportunities', RFT 9052 Standard Tender Questions.
Sellafield, Magnox, LLW Repository, Dounreay, and INS (International Nuclear Services) are participating in this process so your responses should be valid on future tenders from any of these listed
Asset Management Game
On the last blog I mentioned the board game, Synergy, which was developed for Sellafield Ltd by Vulcain Engineering Ltd, a French company with an office in Phoenix Enterprise Centre, Cleator Moor and with team members from its partner company Oxand Academy. Well I am delighted to say that it won the innovation category in the international Institute of Asset Management awards in London, having been up against Atkins and the National Grid.
I am delighted for Simon Spencer for his success, and even more delighted that he has promised to bring the game to the office in the new year so I can play.
The NDA is asking for fresh membership to the NDA regional steering groups. The groups have now been running for 3 years and they feel it is time to re-evaluate and refresh the membership and focus to ensure that they are still relevant to the market place and give good value to all those involved or interested.
The five Steering groups are regionally based in Scotland, Cumbria, Wales, North and South England. Each group has an SME company member as it's chair and they currently have the opportunity for 2 new Chairs, along with new members in both the Scottish and Southern regions. Other regions may also have opportunities, so they are asking for people to get in touch if you are interested.
The benefits of these groups to those who are involved have included a greater understanding of the challenges faced by both the SME and Supply Chain communities for both the Site Licence Companies and Tier 2 suppliers. Similarly a greater understanding for the SMEs on how to bid for work and what is looked for by their clients. Three Guideline booklets have been produced by the groups on Collaboration, Innovation and Frequently Asked questions, also open days with workshops have been arranged for SMEs, with the opportunity to work with local and regional governments, Tier 2s and other organisations to support SMEs.
They want to encourage more SME and Tier 2 involvement in these groups – whether by joining the group on a regular basis (numbers are limited), giving a single presentation to the group on an ad hoc basis, or by keeping up to date via the NDA website where minutes are posted.
My opinion on these steering groups are they switched a lot of people off when they first launched them. Many SME's were really keen to get involved and instead of having an open meeting allowing everyone who had an interest to attend they cherry picked a few to be part of it and basically told the others they didn't want them involved. It is no wonder they are now out to the supply chain requesting involvement again.
I was delighted last week at the NIA Dinner in London when John Clarke was given a lifetime achievement award for services to the nuclear industry. He was presented the award by Baroness Neville-Rolfe, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister.
The award is recognition of the 30 years of leadership and dedication John has shown the UK nuclear industry.
Some of Johns pivotal roles include: Sellafield Production Director for BNFL and Managing Director of International Nuclear Services Ltd.
A member of Sellafield's executive team for eight years, he spent five years as head of environmental, health, safety and quality, followed by three years as director of production where he was accountable for the majority of operational activities at Sellafield.
He has held the position of CEO and Accounting Officer at the NDA since April 2012, having joined the NDA Board in 2008 initially as Commercial Director and subsequently as Business Planning Director.
I hope John enjoys his retirement next year, however I don't think we have seen the last of him.
UK business to benefit from new nuclear projects
Supply chain plans and reformed Nuclear Industry Council to aid in the UK's nuclear renaissance.
Greater transparency on the sourcing of work and materials for new nuclear projects and a reformed Nuclear Industry Council were announced by Energy Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe at the Nuclear Industry Association annual conference.
New nuclear power will play an important role in building a secure, affordable and clean energy system fit for the 21st century.
In total, there are industry proposals for new nuclear developments at six locations, including Hinkley Point C, which would deliver around 18GW of capacity over the coming decades and a substantial opportunity for UK businesses in the supply chain.
New nuclear developers are being encouraged to share supply chain information with industry in the early stages of development to ensure that UK companies are positioned and prepared to bid for these opportunities.
Energy Minister Baroness Neville Rolfe said:
"The UK's nuclear renaissance will trigger big benefits for British businesses and it's important they are ready for the challenge."
"This is why I am making sure developers will be required to show evidence that their projects support growth in the UK supply chain, improve competition, and boost innovation and skills."
"Having visibility of the projects will give UK companies the incentive and confidence to invest, expand their capabilities, and train and retain their skilled employees".
In response to feedback from members, the reformed Nuclear Industry Council will take a more strategic approach covering the whole spectrum of the nuclear industry; including defence and decommissioning as well as having a specific focus on driving UK supply chain growth and skills development.
The first meeting of the reformed Council will take place early 2017.
Tidal Lagoon – West Cumbria
Workington MP Sue Hayman has given her backing to a proposed tidal lagoon for West Cumbria.
Renewable energy company Tidal Lagoon Power is targeting West Cumbria as one of six sites where it wants to build.
The West Cumbrian project, which would be in the Solway Firth, starting north of Workington, is dependent on the success of the firm's first project, planned for Swansea Bay.
With planning permission in place, the firm is waiting on Government to agree what subsidy it will pay to allow the green energy project to go ahead.
During a debate in parliament, Mrs Hayman said: "I'm here to put on record my support for the proposed tidal lagoon in West Cumbria."
"In West Cumbria we market ourselves under the name Britain's Energy Coast. With Calder Hall, now part of Sellafield, we were home to the world's first commercial nuclear power station. We now have the new-build reactors at Moorside, which we hope will be given the go ahead very soon."
"It's been reported that the West Cumbria tidal lagoon, with its 90 turbines set within the breakwater, could have a generating capacity of 2GW, and a lifetime of 120 years. Add this to the 3.4GW of capacity provided by Moorside, and West Cumbria alone is producing around 10 per cent of the UK's electricity needs."
"It's clear that a West Cumbrian tidal lagoon could bring huge economic benefits for my constituents – in the form of thousands of jobs during the construction period, as well as regeneration and investment in the local community."
The tidal lagoon plans are in their very early stages.
Once the Swansea Bay project is up and running, the company's next planned scheme is in Cardiff, which it hopes to submit a planning application for in 2018.
The West Cumbria project is among four others in the pipeline, with the others at Colwyn Bay, Newport and Bridgwater Bay.
No timescales have been drawn up for the later schemes yet.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed that early informal consultation had taken place in West Cumbria and formal consultation, including with local fishermen, would be held before the West Cumbria plan went ahead.
Sue Hayman, who is Shadow Minister for Tidal Energy, added: "I know that the company has been consulting with local people on the proposals, and it's important that they listen to local fishermen, whose livelihood comes from the waters of the Solway.
"They have expressed their concerns to me, so I'm glad that Tidal Lagoon Power earlier this year set up a Fisheries Peer Review Group, to advise on the effects and impacts upon fish. It's vital that do everything in their power to mitigate any impact upon local fisheries.
"I was impressed by Tidal Lagoon Power's comprehensive strategy for wider community investment in Swansea Bay, in the form of investment in local recreation, tourism, sport, and arts. This is exactly the sort of thing we also need in West Cumbria.
"The Solway Firth is beautiful – it's a hidden gem, and more people need to know about it and to come and visit our attractions, taste our local food, particularly the seafood, and realise that there's so much more to Cumbria than just the Lake District.
"So I absolutely support the pathfinder tidal lagoon project in Swansea Bay. If we can get this first project off the ground, then areas like the one I represent will be able to benefit greatly from a huge investment in our future that would help bridge our national energy gap and ensure we meet our international climate change commitments."
Although a long way off this would be fantastic for West Cumbria and having seen presentations on their Swansea Bay project it is a very exciting concept.
After a very busy November and, as is always the case in December, things are starting to slow down as people start focussing on their Christmas holidays. If you are looking to recruit or are looking for a new opportunity now would be a perfect time to get in touch. Just looking back over the past year following are some of our achievements:
- Celebrated 5 years of trading
- Shortlisted for Small Business of the year
- Gained our Cyber Essentials
- Joined the board of Calderwood House
- Spent a night sleeping rough to raise money for homelessness
- Secured a place on a couple of large PSL's for recruitment
- Recruited the Business Director for BECBC
I would like to thank all of you who have worked with us over 2016 and we are looking forward to working with you in 2017. From all of us at NuExec have a very Merry Christmas and a Posperous New Year.
I just wanted to say how proud I am of all the staff at Calderwood House. At the Cumbria Hero Awards Calderwood House was awarded the best community project. This is such a huge achievement and is down to the tremendous hard work of our support staff, who go above and beyond that for which they are paid, and genuinely care about the wellbeing of our homeless here in West Cumbria. I would also like to say a huge well done to our founder Rachel Holliday, whose passion, enthusiasm and commitment astounds me. She is a true angel who cares so deeply for those less fortunate and who goes out of her way not only for those in the hostel, but for those we can't accommodate ensuring they all have a tent, sleeping bag and some food.
We have some exciting things planned for Calderwood next year with new business initiatives and a corporate ball. I hope I can continue to count on the support of my fantastic readers to help ensure our homeless and ex-servicemen and women aren't without food and shelter in 2017.
It Could Only Happen to Me!
Today I have a guest it could happen to me, which is very exciting, especially as the guest doesn't know yet that they are featuring.
On the 25th November were the West Cumbria Hero Awards. I was absolutely delighted to be invited by Stephen McCullough from CN Group and I have to say it was, as always, an inspirational and humbling event that shows the real heroes in our community.
At the beginning of the evening I was stood speaking to Adrian Bull, NNL, Kerry Burns, Technical Administrator, NNL and the very important Paul Howarth, NNL & COnE. I felt somewhat embarrassed when Adrian started to discuss my "it could only happen to me's", especially in front of a very important person and a real grown up like Paul. I was really surprised when Paul said he enjoyed reading them as it was good to hear of these things happening to someone else. I chuckled to myself on the way back to my table: how could someone as important and grown up as Paul have any type of bad or embarrassing thing happen to him? Surely he must be really professional at Adulting!
The evening was going well and there was a short interval before the second half of the awards. We were then asked to take our seats for the second half. The compare for the evening invited the Chair of COnE, Mr Paul Howarth to the stage. But Paul didn't appear. Everyone was looking around for a good couple of minutes and then Darren Ennis went up on the stage just as Paul emerged from the toilets. Everyone started pointing and shouting he is here. So Darren came off the stage and Paul walked on, took the trophy from Darren, said thanks and then started to head back to his seat with the trophy, which he seemed to think he had won. He then got chased by one of the ladies and was sent back on stage where he proceeded to stand with the trophy and the envelope clearly displaying the winners name before even hearing the shortlist. Maybe it was one of those "you have to be there" moments, but I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my cheeks. (No Adrian I didn't wee myself – not all my blogs are about that). And in that moment Paul made me realise that no matter how important you are, no matter how many people look up to you or are desperate to have a conversation with you, you can still be really bad at adulting and it really can happen to you!
Until next time.....