Because a new nuclear power station has not been built in almost 20 years, we now have an ageing workforce and the industry faces a skills gap. The average age of an engineer in the UK is 54 which means across all sectors, recruitment is a key priority.

The Nuclear Workforce Assessment projections show nuclear workforce demand is forecast to rise from 87,560 full time employees in 2017 to 100,619 by 2021. The Government needs to develop a long term strategy through the nuclear college to deliver well trained, highly skilled people into this exciting area of engineering.

© Dalton Nuclear Institute

Not all roles mean young people have to have a nuclear physics degree – the nuclear sector offers a range of technical apprenticeships as well as graduate positions which can build the skills base ready for new build projects and ongoing decommissioning work.

The UK has a very strong academic research community in nuclear power, which is respected internationally, and conducts leading work through the National Nuclear Laboratory as well as in universities across the country.

To create a skilled workforce the NIA is calling on the Government to:

Ensure more focus is placed on STEM subjects at a young age, through the national curriculum, to encourage students into these increasingly essential careers

Guarantee continued support to high skilled, high valued, apprenticeship schemes to encourage young people into the nuclear sector


The NIA launched re:generation in 2014 to help raise awareness of the opportunities available to young people in the nuclear sector.

We travel up and down the country speaking to students about the importance of energy, STEM subjects and the careers open to them when they leave school or university, looking at both apprenticeships and graduate options.

Find out more about the campaign and find out more about working in the industry.

© Sellafield Limited

Skills development

The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) is the industry-led strategic group, comprising employers, government and trade unions representing both the civil and defence sectors. Its Strategic Plan brings industry and government together, to apply national leadership to a strategic sector of the economy as it embarks upon its much anticipated renaissance.

Two lead organisations, the National College for Nuclear and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear support the successful delivery of the NSSG Skills Strategy each with unique, distinct yet complementary role to play.


Figures from the NIA Jobs Map show there are over 1,800 apprentices across the civil nuclear industry. Apprenticeships are a structured training programme which provide the opportunity to learn and earn at the same time and are a nationally recognised qualification.

Apprenticeships enable you to gain real responsibilities in your job, as well as developing confidence, communication and organisational skills.

Once the apprenticeship is completed a majority of apprentices stay in employment with over two thirds remaining with the same employer. There is also an opportunity to achieve a higher qualification such as a Foundation or Honours Degree.

The nuclear sector has been involved in developing Degree Apprenticeships as part of the Government’s Trailblazer programme. The Nuclear Degree Apprenticeship will allow people to combine the academic study from a traditional university degree and the practical experience and wider employment skills from working in a nuclear environment, vital for career success.

Degree Apprenticeships have been co-designed by employers in the nuclear sector to make sure they are relevant to the skills industry is looking for. For more information about apprenticeships you can visit:


National Skills Academy for Nuclear

Get in Go Far

Find out more about the apprenticeship opportunities available with nuclear companies.

© EDF Energy
© Amec Foster Wheeler

Degree courses

British universities have been teaching in the field of nuclear science and engineering for more than 50 years, and courses are taught at many universities.

These courses have developed to meet today’s needs and deal with all aspects of nuclear energy and radioactivity, from nuclear reactors to astrophysics, radiological protection and applications within medical and life sciences.

British universities also undertake both fundamental and applied research work on nuclear science and engineering topics, and in many instances are amongst the world leaders.

Businesses across the nuclear sector are looking for bright and passionate graduates across engineering, science and commercial operations. There will be job opportunities in a wide range of roles, not only in science related jobs.

nucleargraduates is a comprehensive graduate training programme developed by the nuclear industry to attract the best graduates into the industry. The programme, which lasts two years, gives each graduate a salary and a series of placements across parts of the nuclear sector, in the UK and internationally.

Find out more about the graduate schemes available with nuclear sector companies.

Become a member
Join over 250 other nuclear companies and as part of the NIA you’ll be able to:

Grow your business

You can meet the right people and grow your business through our extensive Business Group programme and our unique Trade Directory.

Keep up to date

Our members receive the most up to date information on industry developments through our regular newsletters and briefings and our special interest group mailings.

Save money

Attendance at our Business Group meetings is free for member companies and members also receive discounts to our flagship conferences as well as Industry Link, our quarterly magazine.

Have a voice

Being a member of the NIA gives you a voice in Westminster and the media as the NIA works to ensure your business can grow. You can contribute to our consultation responses and policy positions through involvement in our groups.