Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has launched a pilot program employing area high school students as apprentices at the Savannah River Site.
“We have a wide range of career opportunities requiring a technical school degree, and we need to fill and maintain that job pipeline,” said Dorian Newton, program manager for apprenticeship and pipeline training. “Agreements with nearby Aiken, Denmark, Orangeburg and Augusta technical schools have been very helpful towards filling this need through our extensive adult apprenticeship program. That said, we realize the next step is to facilitate a way for local high school students to complete their high school curriculum while gaining hands-on experience working side by side with our employees as youth apprentices.”
Two South Carolina seniors, Arian Williams from Allendale High School and Drew Platts from Barnwell High School are the first participants in the apprenticeship program, according to a news release.
As apprentices, Platts and Williams will primarily perform administrative duties, such as preparing and maintaining training records, setting up and breaking down classroom equipment and working as instructional aids.
Cynthia “Boo Boo” Roberts, deputy program manager, will mentor Williams and Platts as they work through the program.
“We want to expose them to various types of jobs available at the Savannah River Site,” Roberts said. “You never know what might spark a strong interest in a career that had not been previously considered.”
Newton said the ultimate goal is to expand the youth apprenticeship program to offer opportunities for participating students to take courses at local technical colleges.
“This will make for an optiumum, well-rounded experience that will benefit these high school seniors and our company as we receive highly qualified job candidates throughout the foreseeable future through this process,” he said.
Both students said the program has been enjoyable so far.
“The youth apprenticeship program at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has been a wonderful experience,” Williams said. “They are very understanding and work with you while you’re in school. I met many people who have given me great advice and assured me that I could come to them about any safety issues or concerns. This program has been a blessing.”
Platts said his first few days onsite were fun and exciting as he traveled around the site and visited facilities.
“I am excited to work at the Savanah River Site and explore all that it has to offer,” he said.
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, a Fluor-led company with Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, is responsible for the management and operations of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site located near Aiken.