Atkins has announced plans to start an ‘academy’ which will devote itself to the training and retraining of engineers, in an attempt to match the growing demands for nuclear power.
Atkins is just one of many UK companies to recognise the increasing shortage of suitably skilled engineers for nuclear work, however unlike other companies who have often resorted to international employees; Atkins has come up with a solution intended to reshape the UK engineer workforce and face this problem head on.
Martin Grant, Head of Energy at Atkins, has stated that “the nuclear industry has a demographic problem because a lot of people with the experience are now retiring just as we are embarking on an expansive new-build programme in the UK for up to 10 new plants. That is driving up the requirement”.
Research from the Royal Academy of Engineering highlighted the significant shortage after it reported that the UK requires 830,000 graduates in science, technology, engineering and maths by 2020, when at current the UK only produces around 23,000 engineering graduates a year.
Uwe Krueger, chief executive of Atkins, commented further “you cannot believe how scarce these guys are. We are willing to support growth opportunities with resources and to encourage people into the field we have started an internal academy.”
Investment in nuclear power within the UK has been much needed for some time, however Steven Chu, the former US energy secretary, has warned that Britain may experience a “financial drain” if nuclear plants cannot be built on time and budget. Therefore Atkins Academies appear to have come at the right time, in offering engineers the chance to alter their career paths not only are Atkins offering engineers more opportunities, but they are also helping to support nuclear plants as a sustainable and profitable form of energy for the UK.
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