The UK’s new nuclear programme has been boosted by a memorandum of understanding to improve skills in the sector after research showed that 17,000 construction workers will be required throughout the new build programme.
An MoU was signed today between the National Skills Academy for Nuclear and the National Skills Academy for Construction, which is part of CITB-ConstructionSkills, to help put in place the skilled construction workforce needed to deliver the UK’s new build programme.
Announcing the collaboration, CITB-ConstructionSkills chief executive Mark Farrar said it would enable more UK construction companies to be supply chain-ready and to be able to demonstrate the ‘world class’ skills, capability, safety culture and behaviours of their workforce to operate in a nuclear context.
Three consortia are currently attached to nuclear new build projects, to which the government repeatedly reiterated its commitment, with EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C (see pic) expected to be the first to come on stream within a decade.
Mr Farrar unveiled research (see attached document) using CITB-ConstructionSkills CSN modelling and EDF Energy data that showed construction output will peak at around £1.5bn annually during the new build projects.
However the research showed that a decline in employment levels will mean that existing workers will have to be reskilled and upskilled, particularly in the areas where nuclear new build is planned.
Mr Farrar said: “The industry needs to ensure that it has the right skills to be able to meet the demands of the nuclear build project. Nuclear represents a big cultural shift in terms of behaviours needed on site.
“Safety considerations are far more prominent and complex than in other industries and need to be fully understood. Therefore it is vital that UK construction contractors in the bidding run for the new nuclear build programme are involved early with us. In striving to develop and prepare the future nuclear workforce we are working to help business succeed and grow.”
National Skills Academy for Nuclear chief executive Jean Llewellyn added that the sharing of information and joint work between the organisations will enable the early identification of emerging priority areas in the areas of nuclear new build providing a huge strategic benefit to both organisations and their respective industries.
“One of the main priorities of the MoU will be to ensure the development of the right behaviours and human performance attitudes across the construction workforce by incorporating the relevant nuclear employer agreed standards which will be recorded on the Nuclear Skills Passport which will help to ensure safe operations in an environment that is or will become a nuclear licensed site.”