Date(s) of inspection:
Aim of inspection
The aim of this crosscutting inspection (multi-discipline) was to:
- assess the application of competency management arrangements for trade skills and the development of Hinkley Support Operatives (HSOs);
- gain assurance on the ability of the mechanical, electrical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning MEH alliance (MEHA) to deliver the required resources going forward;
- understand the mechanisms in place to ensure that the MEHA delivery partners supply competent resource to the project; and
- understand the mechanisms for NNB Generation Company (HPC) Ltd (NNB GenCo) to gain assurance that the MEHA is providing competent persons.
An inspection in July 2021 found that the numbers of supervisors and HSOs were low and the centres of excellence for mechanical and electrical trades were not yet up and running. Therefore a further aim of this inspection was to also gain assurance in these areas.
Subject(s) of inspection
- LC 10 – Training – Rating: GREEN
- LC 12 – Duly authorised and other suitably qualified and experienced persons – Rating: GREEN
Key findings, inspector’s opinions and reasons for judgement made
We were assured by the ability of the MEHA to ramp up its resources; the MEHA partners have an extensive workforce at their disposal, and are monitoring resource pipeline opportunities and providing ‘grow your own’ initiatives.
The competency management arrangements are maturing and there is now an increased human resource team capability to manage the arrangements. Although the processes are manual there are plans to implement an information technology solution later this year. It was also positive that supervisors have now got visibility of their teams competency compliance.
NNB GenCo was found to be maintaining intelligent customer oversight of the MEHA and their management of competency. The Employee Affairs Unit (EAU) has a broad remit including acting as an assurance function auditing the competency of blue collar workers. A review of a sample of audit reports, provided post inspection, showed broad compliance with some areas for improvement.
Performance metrics have been developed and are shared at Hinkley Point C’s MEH programme board. Competency targets have also been set and we saw a positive trend in compliance with an identified need to improve data capture in some areas. MEH programme competency compliance was slightly below target but there were explanations provided.
The number of supervisors (x33) and superintendents (x13) remain low within the MEHA. The key focus area going forward is therefore to ramp up to 600 supervisors, using existing pipelines and ‘grow your own’ initiatives.
We visited the electrical and mechanical centres of excellence, which are now in use. The former we observed being used by HSOs undertaking silver training. By establishing these centres of excellence NNB GenCo is ensuring trades are working to a common standard and aware of specific high nuclear standards, assessing competency and harnessing skills and development in the local area, to address the skills gap.
Overall, we were more confident, since our inspection in July 2021, in the ability of the MEHA to scale up resources and the adequacy of the competency arrangements for blue collar workers.
Overall, based upon the evidence obtained during the inspection, I judge that the licensee has adequate arrangements which have been implemented, to ensure the competency of blue collar workers within the MEHA. On this basis I judge that an inspection rating of green (no formal action) is merited.