These are the key findings of the New Nuclear Build Research project, commissioned by CITB-ConstructionSkills, to give a picture of the construction workforce requirements for the programme and its possible implications on future training requirements.
But the recent decline in construction employment levels in the areas where the new nuclear power stations are planned could mean a shortfall of workers with specific skills.
To meet training needs, CITB-ConstructionSkills has struck a co-operation deal with the nuclear industry’s training organisation. A memorandum of understanding is being signed today between the National Skills Academy for Construction (part of CITB-ConstructionSkills) and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear.
Announcing the collaboration, CITB-ConstructionSkills chief executive Mark Farrar said it would enable more UK construction companies to be ready to take on the work.
National Skills Academy for Nuclear chief executive Jean Llewellyn said that the “joined up approach” would help the two organisations to see what was needed.
She said: “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.”
Mr Farrar added: “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.
“We need to appreciate the current strengths and weaknesses of the skills base and promote effective transition planning with employers and trade unions, ensuring that the UK supply chain is ready to play its part in the ‘nuclear’ renaissance.”