THE next phase of construction is due to start soon at Hinkley C, and with it approximately 1,200 new jobs and 300 apprentices will become part of the workforce.

The new recruits will held fit electrical systems, cables and pipes at the new nuclear power station in Somerset.

The work is being delivered by an innovative joint venture – the “MEH Alliance” formed by EDF and its major contractors Altrad, Balfour Beatty Bailey, Cavendish Nuclear and Doosan Babcock.

MEH stands for Mechanical, Electrical and HVAC, (which in turn stands for heating, ventilation and air conditioning).

The fitting of the first five out of 156 storage tanks has marked the beginning of major MEH work on site.

Staffordshire-based firm Capula’s new contract to design and build instrument and control cabinets will create 50 new jobs, while Bury-based Excite Hargreaves will create 30 new jobs to design manufacture and commission ventilation systems.

Their success follows the recent announcement by Warrington’s Bilfinger UK that it is creating 350 British jobs to manufacture specialist pipework for HPC.

A new welding centre in Bridgwater is supported by the MEH Alliance, the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB), the Weldability SiF Foundation and South West Institute of Technology and Bridgwater & Taunton College. The centre plans to train and qualify 350-500 welders a year, benefitting people and industries across the South-West of England and beyond.

Simon Parsons, Hinkley Point C MEH programme director, said: “In this next major chapter for our project, the MEH phase will join together hundreds of small and large companies from across Britain, creating 1,200 new jobs and 300 apprenticeships. Together we are delivering on our promise to build Britain’s industrial capability by creating new jobs and skills.

"Development of a near identical power station at Sizewell C will bring further opportunities for our extensive and experienced British supply chain.”