Three leading players on the nuclear skills landscape have joined forces to sign a new collaborative agreement that promotes the highest standards of professionalism across the UK's nuclear industry.
The agreement, which is supported by the Nuclear Institute (NI), the National Skills Academy Nuclear (NSAN) and the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), will facilitate closer alignment between the three organisations in a co-ordinated effort to encourage new entrants to the nuclear sector.
The Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance's Workforce Assessment Model reports that the total workforce is expected to grow from 70,000 to 98,000 by 2021. Direct supply chain support for Operations, Decommissioning, Engineering Construction and Defence is forecast to require recruitment for technical roles of 3000 and professional roles 3500 per year for current plans to be met. The Manufacturing workforce required is also expected to grow significantly to 8500 from 4000 reported in 2014.
A 2014 survey completed by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA), of more than 1300 young people studying science, technology, engineering or maths subjects revealed that more than one third of respondents did not believe they could work in the nuclear industry. Moreover, one in seven questioned had not heard anything about career opportunities in the nuclear sector.
The new collaboration will address this knowledge gap head-on and promote the nuclear industry as an exciting career.
"The UK nuclear industry is going through a period of very significant growth and this will require a step change in the way recruitment and nuclear professionalism, at all levels, is addressed," said Jean Llewellyn OBE, NSAN Chief Executive.
"By working collaboratively with IChemE and the NI we will be able to make a significant impact on this challenge opening up new entry routes into the sector and providing well-recognised and respected routes to professional recognition and development."
IChemE, president, Professor Geoff Maitland added: "Chemical engineering plays a crucial role in all parts of the nuclear fuel cycle and IChemE is fully committed to working with its partners to maximise the uptake of skills, training and professional development programmes."
The collaborative agreement was signed at a nuclear skills summit meeting in London on 28 April. The partners' first work programme will be published later in 2015.
Photo: The agreement was signed at a nuclear skills summit meeting in London on 28 April (Copyright: Anna Saverimuttu Photography)