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New report reveals UK nuclear industry must recruit 7,000 people each year to meet demand

11/12/2018
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The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) has this week released their Updated Strategic Skills Plan which reveals that the UK nuclear industry must recruit at least 7,000 skilled people, per annum, to meet demand associated with the UK’s nuclear renaissance.
The UK nuclear industry must recruit at least 7,000 skilled people annually up to 2021 if it is to meet required demand.
The updated plan from the industry skills body covers all aspects of the nuclear industry including power generation, nuclear new build, research and development, decommissioning, defence and waste management. The report sets out a peak workforce demand currently forecast at 100,600 Full Time Equivalents (FTE) in 2021- meaning that at least 7,000 skilled people need to be recruited each year into the industry.

The NSSG is the industry-led strategic group, comprising employers, government and trade unions representing both the civil and defence sectors. The updated plan contains recommendations across 5 key areas to help the industry successfully build the right workforce to meet the demands of the future:

  • Enhanced skills leadership- recognition of the NSSG’s leadership in taking forward a new, challenging diversity target of an increase from a 22% female workforce, to 40% by 2030.


  • Local apprenticeships- a target of 2,000 new starts every year, which is more than double the current apprenticeship intake. This will include maximising the use of the Apprenticeship Levy to deliver additional apprenticeship starts at a local level, supporting regional skills development in key nuclear locations (South West, North West, East and Wales).


  • Staying at the cutting edge- a target of 72 nuclear related PhDs commenced annually, which will deliver essential high-level skills and nuclear Subject Matter Expertise and support the replacement of many of the experts who joined the sector during its last renaissance. And the development of a Level 8 Technical Specialist Apprenticeship Standard, one of the first at the PhD level.


  • Sector transferability- an extra 20% of entrants coming in from downsizing sectors such as oil and gas, or coal generation: people who bring alternative thinking and skills sets. This will be supported by the development of bespoke programmes that underpin the transitioning between sectors, also including civil and defence, as well as a possible expansion of the National College for Nuclear.


  • Exciting the next generation about nuclear- through targeted schools outreach, and industry collaboration in developing and sharing education and careers interventions. This includes dedicated career champions to work with the sector and ensure it is able to offer work experience placements for students in schools, further education and higher education.

  • The recruitment plans for the UK nuclear industry include a strong emphasis on gender diversity.
    Commenting on the updated skills plan, Dr Fiona Rayment, Executive Director Nuclear Innovation and Research Office (NIRO) and Chair of the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group said:

    “Our update reflects new member insights about the changing shape of our growing sector and the skills required, as well as new intelligence, risks and evidence that have arisen since our initial plan. Importantly, it fully embraces the joint targets in the Nuclear Sector Deal and brings a renewed focus on diversity, including clear targets”.

    “The Nuclear Sector Deal sets out to boost productivity, reduce costs and grow our domestic and international business. All of this will be delivered through the contribution of our skilled people. We look forward to ensuring the industry thrives and prospers through the talents of an increasingly diverse workforce”.

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    If you’re looking to move from another industry, or to take the next step in your nuclear career, register with Fircroft and we’ll ensure you receive the latest job vacancies as soon as they become available. If you’re already registered, then why not explore our current nuclear industry vacancies now?
    Recent Comments
    I have been trying to get in to the new build Nuclear now for 8 years. Seems like experience and qualifications are not good enough these days in this country any more. I have over 40 years experience in industrial projects including nuclear new build in USA and France with a MSc in Process safety. Maybe its time to think about leaving the UK again and moving to Europe.
    Nigel Mackenzie, 14 December 2018
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    New report reveals UK nuclear industry must recruit 7,000 people each year to meet demand - Time to read 3 min
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