The UK’s nuclear sector is launching its first ever sector-wide initiative to attract and recruit people over the next two decades, as it enters a new era of government-backed expansion.
The civil and defence nuclear workforce will need to double over the next 20 years – supporting around 80,000 additional skilled jobs across the UK.
Destination Nuclear, which brings together Government, sector organisations and their supply chains, education institutions, aims to deliver against the UK’s nuclear ambition, by attracting and recruiting more people into the industry to help fill critical skills gaps.
The UK’s nuclear sector is in a positive period of growth, and the workforce will expand further following the AUKUS Nuclear submarine partnership and the Government’s ambition for nuclear power to generate a quarter of the UK’s electricity by 2050, strengthening energy security and independence.
The campaign will target those considering a career change with transferrable skills, as well as supporting a commitment to apprenticeships and graduate schemes and increasing the opportunity for PhD students across industry-leading organisations. The campaign will also benefit national and regional employment, as well as supporting broader EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) and social mobility goals through reaching a much broader audience.
Re-skilling the workforce of today for tomorrow
The sector is investing in recruiting and developing a highly skilled workforce as it accelerates its growth and innovation. This includes working with other sectors and developing training programmes to re-skill people who may be transferring from other industries.
Techniques already being used by those working in other sectors including construction and manufacturing – digital, robotics and artificial intelligence – will also be harnessed to fill nuclear roles such as welding, systems engineers, project planning and civil and structural engineers.
Minister for Nuclear, Andrew Bowie said: “The UK has begun the biggest nuclear power expansion in 70 years, with our world leading SMR competition and plans for a new mega nuclear plant similar in scale to Sizewell or Hinkley.
“To meet our ambitions, we need to rapidly ramp up recruitment in the sector, making sure we have enough people from engineers to welders to design and build new nuclear.
“Nuclear has fantastic career opportunities, and we want people of all ages to consider joining a key industry of the future.”
Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge said: “People are at the heart of our nuclear sector, and the role they play helps keep the country safe around the clock.
“We have hugely exciting decades ahead in defence nuclear work, including global partnerships, such as AUKUS, so it’s right we work collaboratively with the industry right now to realise the skills potential back home.”
Simone Rossi, CEO EDF commented: “EDF’s nuclear businesses aim to hire more than 1,000 people this year, to work at power stations, new build projects and in technical and support roles. It is an exciting time to be working in the sector but finding enough of the right people is challenging. That is why we are supporting “Destination Nuclear” to help more people realise the wealth of opportunities in this vital sector.”
Lynne Matthews, Head of Destination Nuclear, said: “Destination Nuclear has provided a focal point where the sector has come together to deliver this vital campaign programme. To deliver our nuclear ambition we need to significantly grow the workforce.
“Many potential candidates may have not considered nuclear as a career. Destination Nuclear will help show the wealth of opportunities the sector has to offer and help a broader range of people explore and venture into a career that is challenging, rewarding and sustainable.”
Simon Bowen, Great British Nuclear said: “For those of us who have been in the industry for a while and passionate about its future contribution to society, Destination Nuclear is a game changer. It demonstrates how a united effort can result in delivering huge benefit with everyone collaborating for the future success of the industry – Destination Nuclear, the awareness and recruitment campaign and our website representing all major organisations in the sector is simply amazing.
“I am deeply proud of what has been achieved and want to congratulate all those involved.”
The role of nuclear in the future of the UK
The revival of nuclear as part of the clean energy transition, and national security and independence supported by the large-scale investment from the government, demonstrates the national significance of the sector as the UK aims to be a global leader in innovation and technology.
As outlined in the government’s Civil Nuclear Roadmap published in January 2024, nuclear plays a vital role in the development of reliable, resilient, and low-carbon energy and reduces the dependence on volatile fossil fuel imports. More broadly, in the long-term it will help to reduce household energy bills, support thousands of jobs and improve UK energy security.
To find out more about Destination Nuclear or career options available in the sector, please visit DestinationNuclear.com
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