The Nuclear Industry Association’s (NIA) latest jobs figures show the number employed in the industry in the North-west remained steady despite Covid-19.
According to the NIA’s annual Jobs Map, 59,584 people are employed in the civil nuclear sector across the UK, a slight increase on 2019. The North West remains the leading hub of the nuclear industry, with more than 24,000 people employed in highly skilled disciplines including decommissioning, fuel cycle research, generation and reactor design.
All parts of the industry, including generation, new build, decommissioning and research and development, have sustained operations throughout the disruptions of COVID-19. Thousands of workers in the existing fleet across Scotland and England have ensured that no station has had to stop producing power because of the pandemic, and Hunterston B has been able to restart generation, underscoring the resilience of the sector.
Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the NIA said:
The nuclear industry has shown extraordinary resilience in sustaining high-skilled, well-paid jobs and keeping the lights on throughout this pandemic. The growth in employment on new build projects and advanced research and development shows how investing in emissions free, reliable and secure nuclear power can cut emissions and create the skilled, long-term jobs we need for a green recovery. Now the Government should back nuclear workers by committing to new nuclear capacity as an essential part of the net zero energy mix.”
This year’s Jobs Map also highlights stories of workers who have found opportunities in the nuclear industry, including those below:
Heather Lovell joined the nuclear industry in 2015 as a Higher Engineering Apprentice at Springfields. Today, she’s recognized as the 2020 Engineering Apprentice of the Year, and overall UK nuclear Apprentice of the Year, by the UK Nuclear Skills Awards. Heather said:
Having a career in nuclear is really exciting because of the variety of work, challenges and innovation that I get to witness and be involved with – making a real difference.”
Amy Scone (pictured) signed up for one of Bylor’s lifting apprenticeships before she even know if she liked heights. Now she can regularly be seen 40 metres above ground, getting in the 1,000 hours on the tower cranes she needs to get her ‘blue card’ qualification. Today, in her apprenticeship, she has already progressed to her role as Relief Driver and does a couple of climbs a day up tower cranes on site. Amy said:
I’ve got skills that I’d never have got before. I can stand out from the crowd and I’m proud to say what I do. My husband works as Logistics Supervisor for Bylor. I say to the kids, ‘Daddy does the paperwork for the power station but Mummy’s building it!”
The sector retains a strong presence in other regions. New build projects have played a key role in sustaining employment and improving the UK’s construction skills base: Hinkley Point C in the south-west employs around 4,500 people on site. The UK’s world-class nuclear research expertise sees more than 1,700 people employed at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy in Oxfordshire, and others employed in modular reactor design at sites around the country.
Richmond Atinga, 24, worked in the leisure industry before joining the Hinkley Point C (HPC) project. He got his CSCS card and engaged with the HPC Jobs Service, he soon found himself on an Electro Technical Apprenticeship with Bylor. Richmond said:
Now I’m working on a project like no other, getting paid to learn and working with a really great team.”