The UK nuclear industry came together to celebrate excellence in skills for nuclear at the annual UK Nuclear Skills Awards on the 30th March 2023.

The evening, organised by NSAN and Cogent Skills, celebrates the success and achievement of individuals and companies, shining a spotlight on the talent that exists within the sector.

The awards, all judged independently by representatives working across the industry and professional associations, celebrated its 15th and busiest year for nominations, with one of the largest and most diverse audiences to date. Held at the iconic Kimpton Clocktower hotel in Manchester, the evening was hosted by TV presenter Louise Minchin.

The main supporter for the evening was the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). On behalf of the NDA, Mark Rouse, Managing Director of Dounreay Sites Restoration Ltd, officially welcomed representatives from industry, government, and training providers to the UK Nuclear Skills Awards 2023.

The top award of the evening was the eagerly anticipated UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year selected from all the apprentice category winners.  This award was won by Grace McCrickard from JFN. Grace has completed her apprenticeship in Electrical Engineering Maintenance and now works as an ROV EC&I Engineer. This award category was supported by Westinghouse UK. Grace also won the Advanced Apprentice of the Year title, which was supported by NSAN.

The runners-up for the Advanced Apprentice of the Year were Chloe Glaister from Nuclear Waste Services and Alexander Cobb from the Submarine Delivery Agency. Chloe works as a Waste and Sustainability Coordinator and Alexander works as an Electrical Design Authority.

Taking the title of Intermediate Apprentice of the Year was Rhianna Watson, Magnox Ltd – Winfrith. Rhianna completed a Nuclear Health Physics Monitor Apprenticeship and currently works as a Radiation Protection Technician. This award was supported by GQA Qualifications Ltd. The runners-up in the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year category were Jack Robinson, a Nuclear Production Technician from Sellafield Ltd and Nathan Horrobin a Nuclear Technician from Magnox Ltd – Hinkley Point A.

The winner of the Higher & Degree Apprentice of the Year was William Coles from Springfields Fuels Ltd.   William completed a Nuclear Scientist and Nuclear Engineer Integrated Degree Apprenticeship, and currently works as a Plant Engineer. This award was supported by the National College for Nuclear. The runners-up for the Higher & Degree Apprentice of the Year category were Alexander Rawlinson who currently works as a Plant Engineer at Sellafield Ltd and Tom Hughes a Quality Management Systems Specialist from Westinghouse UK.

The Graduate of the Year was Molly McCarthy from Jacobs. Molly completed an MSci in Chemistry and now works as a Chemist. This award was supported by newcleo. The runners-up in the Graduate of the Year category were Liam Gordon a Graduate Chemical Engineer from DSRL and James Trott an Assistant Waste and Decommissioning Engineer from Atkins.

The winner of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champion Award was Greg Turner-Smart from Rolls-Royce SMR.  Greg has been an influential champion for LGTBQ+ awareness within businesses in the UK and Internationally.  This award was supported by Atkins SNC Lavalin. The runners-up in this category were Denise Calleja from the National Nuclear Laboratory and Christine Ho from the Office for Nuclear Regulation.

The Nuclear Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Oliver Campbell, BAE Systems Submarines. This award was supported by Sellafield Ltd. The runners up in the Nuclear Ambassador of the Year category were Jack Kitsell from Rolls-Royce and Gail Willis-Smith from the National Nuclear Laboratory.

The NSAN Honorary President’s Award is given in recognition of an individual’s outstanding commitment to the industry, a person that would not be recognised through the established award categories.  This year the award was presented to Jo Tipa, Managing Director of NSAN for her amazing passion and commitment to the nuclear sector and for the vital need for specialist skills and training at all levels.

The evening then moved on to the Company Award for Sustainability through Skills.  This is a new award to highlight the steps being taken by companies across the nuclear industry to embed sustainability through upskilling their workforce.  The winner of this award was Turnbull Infrastructure and Utilities Limited for their Sustainability Working Group.  This award was supported by Rolls-Royce SMR. The runners-up in this category were the National Nuclear Laboratory and Jacobs.

The winners of the Employer and Training Provider Partnership Award were Rolls-Royce and the University of Derby for their collaboration in creating the Nuclear Skills Academy.  The award was supported by Rolls-Royce. The runners-up in this category were Rolls-Royce SMR & SV Education Ltd and Sellafield Ltd & Dove Nest Group.

Jacq Longrigg, Head of Leadership, Skills and Talent from the main supporter NDA, said:

“We’re proud to support the UK Nuclear Skills Awards, celebrating the skills and talent that exists right across the industry. The NDA group is committed to investing in and developing both our existing workforce and future talent, with our expanded apprentice recruitment and new NDA group graduate programme really making a real difference in delivering our nationally important mission. Seeing the quality and diversity of finalists from so many professional and personal backgrounds, within our own group and the wider sector, has been truly inspiring. There has never been a better time to work in nuclear.”

Jo Tipa, Managing Director of NSAN said:

“The UK Nuclear Skills Awards highlight the exceptional quality of people of all levels, who are committed to careers in the nuclear sector.   The evening also shines a light on the vital work done by companies and training and education professionals working in and with the nuclear industry across the UK. I would like to personally congratulate all the winners and finalists; they are all inspirational examples of the talent that exists in our sector.  I wish them all the very best for the future.  I would also like to express our gratitude to the supporters of the evening and a special note of thanks to those who took part in judging the award nominations.”

Justine Fosh, CEO of Cogent Skills said:

“Now in their 15th Year, these fantastic Nuclear Skills Awards are once again shining a light on the UK nuclear sector’s talent. I am so delighted to congratulate both the winners and the finalists. These Awards continue to show the commitment the nuclear industry has to investing in workforce skills and developing people. All the nominees and winners are a real credit to the sector, and we wish them continued success in their careers and in acting as such fantastic role models to others in the sector.”

Photos from the evening can be viewed here


Notes to editors

NSAN is the go-to-place for skills for nuclear
NSAN vision is to have a positive impact on every organisation involved in the nuclear industry. By harnessing the power within our network and team, we focus our energy on enhancing skills and delivering cost effective solutions to our members and customers. We are an expert skills membership organisation that works collaboratively with employers and providers, bringing innovative solutions to the nuclear industry. We work with companies to solve their skills problems, reduce costs, and increase productivity. Our members benefit from a dedicated relationship with one of our Client Relationship Managers to offer our unique service, tailored to their needs providing value for money.