The nuclear industry is being challenged by the government to do more to close the skills gap in the UK.
In a speech at tonight’s UK nuclear skills awards dinner in Manchester, Charles Hendry will tell the audience that a skills gap looms and will end up defining the sector’s success.
Mr Hendry states that it is an exciting time to be part of the “nuclear renaissance” and that nuclear power will play its part in a world that needs ever increasing quantities of energy.
He adds: “The stakes are rising. And to achieve world class skills that are up to the challenge, we need to shut that skills gap in order to prepare for the transition into a low carbon society.
“By 2025, 70 per cent of our existing nuclear workforce will have retired. We must make sure the UK has the appropriate skilled workforce to deliver nuclear new build in the UK by 2018. And the future of new nuclear energy will depend upon our skills evolution in the industry.”
The minister will tell the industry that it needs 1,000 new apprentices to enter the nuclear sector every year for the foreseeable future.
Last month a landmark collaboration agreement was signed for the development of excellence in skills between the National Skills Academy for Nuclear and International Nuclear Power Operators.
The nuclear national skills academy and cogent sector skills council’s joint annual UK nuclear skills awards dinner takes place at the Palace Hotel in Manchester and will crown winners for apprentices and skills leaders.