Twenty-three students in the third cohort of the Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship Program graduated recently following their completion of the Nuclear Fundamentals Certificate curriculum at Aiken Technical College (ATC) in South Carolina. The class was the largest ever of operator apprentices to graduate from the program. Those graduates who meet all employment requirements are eligible for hire at the Savannah River Site.
Apprenticeship: In the eight-month Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship Program, students receive paid on-the-job training at the Savannah River Site two days (20 hours) per week, as well as classroom instruction at ATC two days per week. The program focuses on the basic qualifications for being a nuclear production operator at the grade-16 level, such as on the principles of operations conduct, the training and qualifications for radiation workers, and the performance of shift rounds. The apprenticeship program is associated with Apprenticeship Carolina, a division of the South Carolina Technical College System.
Collaboration: SRNS and ATC created the two-semester Nuclear Fundamentals certificate program in 2016, which includes education in applied chemistry, physics, engineering, and radiation, to prepare students for entry-level work in the nuclear industry. The apprenticeship aspect of this collaborative program was recently added to further help expand the workforce pipeline.
Head start: ATC president Forest Mahan observed that the apprenticeship program is an excellent way for students to get a head start on building their careers, adding, “We are thankful for employers, such as Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, who partner with us to help build the skillsets needed in the local workforce.”