Training and recruitment
To recruit the best, the industry should look outside17 May 2010
Neil Daly, a director of speciality energy recruiter looks at how the nuclear industry can make itself more attractive.
What the nuclear sector needs to do is market itself more attractively – much like the renewables sector is doing. Back in the 1980s, the nuclear sector and engineering generally lost a lot of appeal as a career choice. Nuclear was seen as a dangerous dark art (remember Chernobyl) and was targeted vociferously by environmental campaigners. Many talented engineering graduates were wooed by the rewards of roles in the financial services sector.
The nuclear sector needs to be more proactive by becoming less fixated on industry experience, and marketing itself as an attractive option to those who have transferable skills.
While there is no doubt that the sector will need industry specialists, in the short term more generally, we are looking at big infrastructure projects. Consequently, the sector has to stop hiding and shrug off this ‘dark art’ image.
The reality is that new nuclear projects are likely to go ahead. Nuclear energy is baseload – it will give security of supply and it is low-carbon. So why does the industry insist on thinking of itself as less seductive to employees than other engineering sectors? Surely it is time to shout about the enormous boost that this programme is going to give to employment in the UK? Why not embark on a programme of talent attraction that talks about the fantastic opportunities available to work for a forward thinking high tech sector – a sector that is the future of energy production in the UK? This is no time to be making an almost apologetic call to arms – let’s tell these engineers that they don’t need specific industry experience and that there’s a job to be done!
Schoolchildren today, our potential engineers of the future, do not remember Chernobyl. By marketing itself more effectively the nuclear sector can ensure that more of our youngsters are encouraged to take up a career in this skill-short area.
Neil Daly, a director of speciality energy recruiter Hamilton Consultants