Case Studies

UK National College of Nuclear North Hub

When it came to finding teaching equipment to support a new technical college for nuclear in the Lake District, UK, TecQuipment was called upon.

Ncn Building Exterior

In 2018 the National College of Nuclear North Hub (Based at Lakes College West Cumbria) was opened to address the aging workforce of the UK nuclear industry, where the average age for a technical role in the UK nuclear industry was 55.

Specifically the focus was on building technical skills, with courses that would take students straight into work within the nuclear industry. Developing students with these capabilities requires teaching equipment that balances the need for students to find experiments easy to use, while replicating applications in industry, making students work sufficiently to achieve the learning outcomes of a course. 

The National College of Nuclear North Hub (Lakes College West Cumbria) teaches a range of practical foundation and honours degrees. These courses include Decommissioning & Waste Management, Civil Engineering & Asset Management, Electrical Power Systems & Infrastructure, Applied Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering.

Matching Teaching Requirements

Paul Fairclough, Director of Higher Engineering, Science and Nuclear explained that they have developed a teaching model called the Experiential Learning Model. This is designed to support people getting into industry, specifically for work readiness. Practical teaching in all of their degrees is an important element giving the students the skill sets they need for employability. This was a big reason why they selected TecQuipment, over others in the engineering education equipment marketplace.

“The nature of the nuclear industry makes replicating the real world really important. That’s one of the reasons why we teach using TecQuipment’s products, because they match our teaching requirements,” explained Fairclough.

The following products were selected to form an important part of the practical teaching at the Nuclear North Hub’s laboratory facility. Many of these are used across courses.

As well as TecQuipment’s teaching products, the purpose built facility also features simulated radioactive fields and virtual reality systems that means they can simulate the internal elements of a nuclear facility.

Quality

Paul Fairclough has used TecQuipment teaching equipment since 1989, in this period he has worked for a range of universities and colleges choosing TecQuipment repeatedly. The number one reason for this is quality.

TecQuipment designs and manufactures products in the company’s headquarters based in the Midlands region of the UK. The ability to control the whole process means that high quality standards can be maintained.

“TecQuipment delivers consistently good quality. That’s a good manufacturing build and reliability, plus the equipment looks good and is easy for students to use,”   explained Fairclough.

More than Just the Product

The benefit of using TecQuipment teaching products goes far beyond the apparatus itself. The lifelong customer care and supporting documentation makes a big difference.

Fairclough added: “The key thing is the learning materials that come with the products, including the exercises.”

Each product comes with a manual, that includes set-up instructions, maintenance guidelines, step-by-step guides on how to carry out experiments, and in many cases supporting theory. The purpose is to make practical teaching as straightforward as possible.

Results Speak Louder than Words

Reporting in October 2019, Paul Fairclough talks about their results “We’re coming towards the end of our first round of degrees, which have resulted in high pass rates and good retention. In January 2020 we are due to have 430 students on the various courses.”

Aside from the statistics, their model of practical teaching has been recognised by other national colleges as good practice and is being used as an example of excellence to replicate.