Member News

National College for Nuclear shortlisted for Beacon Award

25 November 2019

Each year, the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) Beacon Awards celebrate the best and most innovative practice among UK colleges. This award, supported by JISC seeks to celebrate an outstanding example of where the effective use of technology has improved student experience, either through enhancements to teaching, learning and assessment, or through creating business efficiencies which have enabled positive change.

Flow rig

Supported by industry sponsorship and expertise, Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) made it to the finals for the substantial heat exchange system built within the National College for Nuclear, Southern Hub, that replicates the inside of a nuclear power plant. This system sits alongside virtual and augmented reality components which combine to create a learning environment that closely replicates the nuclear workplace. By wearing special headsets, learners are able to enter a ‘live’ nuclear site and ‘operate’ without risk meaning specialist technical operations and industry behaviours can be trialled, rehearsed and perfected in a safe and risk-free setting, creating a highly-trained, professional, technical workforce fully inducted in the culture, expectations and protocols of a licensed environment.

Andy Berry, Principal of BTC said:

“It is especially rewarding to be recognised for our innovative approach to education. Our focus is always to ensure that every student achieves to their potential, and that the education they receive at the College has a clear line of sight to work. We worked in partnership with employers to find a solution to develop specific skills development needs within a safe, technical environment with clear progression routes into employment.  The resulting solution using digital technology is a real step change in education and programme delivery.”

David Hughes, Chief Executive of the Association of Colleges said:

“Colleges excelling digitally is hugely important. With the fast-paced changes that are happening out in the world of work, colleges will need to use technology to contribute to the development of the curriculum – including equipping their students with digital skills. These colleges are not only using them for their own systems, but the learning experience as well.”

Winners will be announced at the TES FE Awards in March 2020. Please visit for more information about studying nuclear engineering and the National College for Nuclear, or for details about the Beacon Award criteria and shortlists.


Notes to Editor

About the Association of Colleges (AoC)
AoC’s membership includes more than 200 colleges in England, including general further education, sixth form, tertiary and land-based colleges. It supports, represents and protects the interests of its member colleges, as well as the rest of the FE sector.

About the AoC Charitable Trust
The Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Awards highlight the breadth and quality of education in colleges throughout the UK and increase understanding of colleges’ contribution to UK educational skills policy and economic and social development. The Awards are administered by the AoC Charitable Trust which was established to advance the education of members of the public over the age of 16 years.

Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC)
Bridgwater & Taunton College is an exceptionally successful provider of education. Offering a range qualifications across three campuses; Taunton, Bridgwater and Cannington, courses combine real-world experience with academic rigour, which springboard students to Red Brick universities, prestigious companies and exciting careers.

National College for Nuclear, Southern Hub (NCfN)
NCfN operates as virtual college, specialising in training and development for the nuclear industry. It operates from two hubs Bridgwater & Taunton College, Somerset (southern hub) and Lakes College, Cumbria (northern hub) National colleges have been designed with employers to ensure skills and qualifications are relevant to industry and support economic growth.