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  1. ITV Report

New training centre to bring 500 apprentices to Cumbria

An impression of the new facility. Credit: Gen2

A new multi-million pound training facility is going to be built in West Cumbria.

It will be the biggest of its kind in the UK and will allow the not-for-profit company Gen2 to double the number of apprentices and other learners it can train.

The investment is designed to cope with a growing demand for skilled workers, particularly in the nuclear industry as plans progress for three new reactors at Moorside near Sellafield:

The big issue facing this part of the world of course are these large infrastructure projects. We've got NuGen with plans to build reactors at Moorside, we've got United Utilities with their plans for new water pipelines, the National Grid. These all add up to a massive demand for engineers and technicians in the next five to ten years."

– Chief Executive, Mike Smith
Gen2 will be able to take on an additional 500 learners. Credit: ITV Border

The new facility, just behind Gen2's existing building at Lillyhall, will include workshops with the latest specialist equipment and machinery and classrooms.

It will allow it to take on an extra 500 extra learners, double the number at the moment.

The demand for apprentices is increasing and we're simply running out of space."

– Chief Executive, Mike Smith
16% of the apprentices are female. Credit: ITV Border

16% of the apprentices at Gen2 are female, well above the national average for engineering. They and their male counterparts are welcoming this new investment.

"It sounds really good for west Cumbria, especially for young people," says Bradley Haughin. "It gives out a lot of good opportunities and I think it's really going to help west Cumbria in the future."

Paige Thomason agrees. "It's a good opportunity for everyone from west Cumbria because they're taking an extra 500 people on, apprentices and higher learners, so I think it will be good."

Gen2 says this will establish a new world-class facility, which should be seen as a vote of confidence not just for the company but for the economic future of West Cumbria.

The conversion work will start next year and it should be completed by 2017.