Destination Nuclear to drive cross-sector recruitment

By 12 February 2024 Industry news

The UK’s nuclear sector is launching its first sector-wide initiative to attract and recruit people over the next two decades, as it enters a new era of government-backed expansion.

The Destination Nuclear campaign brings together government, sector organisation, suppliers and education institutions – including the Nuclear AMRC –  with the shared aim of attracting and recruiting more people into the industry to help fill critical skills gaps.

The UK’s nuclear sector is growing, with the civil and defence nuclear workforce forecast to double over the next 20 years – supporting around 80,000 additional skilled jobs across the UK. Growth is driven by the government’s ambition for nuclear power to generate a quarter of the UK’s electricity by 2050 as part of the national decarbonisation programme, as well as the AUKUS nuclear submarine partnership.

“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,” said Andrew Bowie, Minister for Nuclear. “Nuclear has fantastic career opportunities, and we want people of all ages to consider joining a key industry of the future.”

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. The campaign will also benefit national and regional employment, as well as supporting broader equality, diversity, inclusion and social mobility goals through reaching a much broader audience.

“Destination Nuclear has provided a focal point where the sector has come really come together to deliver this vital campaign programme,” said Lynne Matthews, head of Destination Nuclear “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.”

man looking through metal item, with Destination Nuclear logo and text

Organisations across the nuclear sector are investing in recruiting and developing a highly skilled workforce, 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 in nuclear roles such as welding, systems engineers, project planning and civil and structural engineers.

Simone Rossi, CEO of EDF, said: “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.”

Simon Bowen, interim chair of 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.”