Manufacturers in England are being urged to tap into a specialist business programme that can help them take advantage of more than £60bn of nuclear opportunities.

Managers of Fit For Nuclear (F4N) made the rallying call to mark the final six months of the current programme, which helps companies expand their presence or enter the sector for the first time.

Thanks to backing from the Regional Growth Fund, participating firms can access grants of around £10,000 match-funded to support improvement activities and R&D.

However, time is of the essence, with all funded projects requiring approval by 31st December 2015 and needing to be completed by 31st March 2016.

“Over 650 firms have engaged with the programme to date, 150 have completed an initial assessment and more than 30 funded projects are already underway,” explained Mike Tynan, chief executive of the Nuclear AMRC, the lead partner in the initiative.

“This is giving manufacturers in England the opportunity to win their share of the billions of pounds being invested in civil nuclear new build, operations and decommissioning.

“And the good news is we still have funding left to help even more companies, but we need them to come forward and start their Fit For Nuclear journey as soon as possible.”

F4N was developed by the Nuclear AMRC with leading industry partners, and is delivered in partnership with the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), part of the government-backed Business Growth Service.

Companies are invited to complete an online assessment to highlight any gaps that may need bridging.

A full-day visit from a MAS assessor will then help manufacturers understand the improvements they need to make to meet sector requirements. This could be through a range of improvement activities or by developing new manufacturing processes or technologies that can be boosted by F4N funding.

“To win work, UK companies need to make sure they have the ability to meet safety, quality and cost standards, and can demonstrate that their specialist capabilities can meet industry demands,” concluded Tynan.

“We will help manufacturers close any gaps in performance and this remaining funding will provide vital support for anyone taking the next steps to get ready to compete for nuclear work.”

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