Published: 16th May 2024

Securing future of UK nuclear industry detailed in new skills plan

The National Nuclear Strategic Plan for Skills (Skills Plan) has officially launched.

A new nuclear industry skills “roadmap” – based on sector collaboration, investment in training, leadership development and improving diversity – is aimed at attracting and retaining the sector’s workforce of the future.

The Government-backed National Nuclear Strategic Plan for Skills (Skills Plan), launched yesterday with a charter signing in Westminster, underpins the goal of doubling the number of new apprenticeships by 2026 and recruiting 40,000 new jobs by 2030 – double the current hiring rate for the sector.

Devised by the Nuclear Skills Taskforce – formed last year – the plan is designed to increase the industry’s available workforce by almost 50 per cent and promote the nuclear sector as an attractive, long-term career choice.

The plan’s activities will be delivered by the Nuclear Skills Delivery Group (NSDG), supporting a nuclear programme which aims to maintain national defence, increase energy resilience, promote economic prosperity and help achieve the net zero target by 2050.

Nuclear Skills Programme Director for the NSDG, Beccy Pleasant, said: “The skills challenge can be met only if the sector works together to deepen and broaden the skills base. That is why the Skills Plan captures specific themes and projects the industry is now committed to.

“And this includes finding ways to align skills across the civil and nuclear defence sectors.”

Specific activities in the plan include:

  • Doubling apprentice numbers in the nuclear sector, supporting trades – including welding, electrical and engineering roles – by 2025-26.
  • Doubling graduate numbers entering the nuclear workforce in the same period, supported by sponsorship and bursary schemes, while increasing the quantity of PhDs to ensure the highest level of technical skills and knowledge.
  • Forming a future leaders scheme to develop tomorrow’s senior personnel.
  • Upskilling initiatives for people joining the industry sector mid-career.
  • Recruiting talent via a national communications campaign – ‘Destination Nuclear’ – which outlines the wide variety of career opportunities available in the sector.
  • Creating regional hubs to increase workforce capacity and capability tailored to local requirements.
  • Increasing training capacity for the sector.
  • Widening employee diversity and inclusion.

“From today, boosting recruitment relevant to the sector’s regional needs, broadening the intake across education levels, upskilling existing industry professionals and increasing diversity will build a motivated nuclear workforce – vital to the industry’s long-term capability and the UK’s national and energy security,” Pleasant added.

Minister for Affordability and Skills at the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, Amanda Solloway MP, said: “We are delivering the biggest expansion to nuclear power in 70 years and need a homegrown pool of talent that will fuel our nuclear ambitions.

“The nuclear industry offers highly skilled, well-paid jobs at the cutting-edge of the clean energy transition that can level up rural communities across the country and today’s charter puts us and the industry working together to achieve that.”

Minister for Defence Procurement at the Ministry of Defence, James Cartlidge MP, said: ‘’The launch of the National Nuclear Strategic Plan for Skills signifies our commitment to enhancing our nuclear workforce, broadening education opportunities and diversifying recruitment.

“Together, we are building a resilient and skilled workforce to meet evolving threats, and to safeguard our nation’s interests now and for the future.’’

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education at the Department for Education, Luke Hall MP, said: “The nuclear sector is a dynamic and fast-growing global industry and presents fantastic opportunities to British workers looking to get in-demand skills and rewarding jobs. 

“Whether you are interested in studying for a university degree or getting experience on the job and earning a wage as an apprentice, this skills plan for the nuclear industry shows a clear path forward for boosting our national security, meeting the UK’s energy needs, cutting emissions and spreading prosperity across the country.”

Project Lead for Destination Nuclear, Lynne Matthews, said: “Destination Nuclear is a real game changer. The programme is the first sector-wide communications campaign for nuclear and has provided a focal point to create a national nuclear brand and shorten the journey from attraction to employment.

“Destination Nuclear showcases the wealth of opportunities the sector has to offer. It will help a broader range of people explore and enter a career which is challenging, rewarding and sustainable – and, importantly, help deliver the UKs nuclear ambition.”

Click here to view the National Nuclear Strategic Plan for Skills (Skills Plan)

Photo: (left to right) Amanda Solloway MP, Sir Simon Bollom – chair of the Nuclear Skills Taskforce – and James Cartlidge MP at the signing of the Nuclear Skills Charter.

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