20 Jun 14

STEM Students need to consider the nuclear sector to keep jobs in Britain, says NIA

Engineering students visiting EDF Energy's Sizewell B power station this week helped launch a national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) campaign.

The campaign, launched by the Nuclear Industry Association, highlights the breadth of quality careers in the nuclear sector to encourage a new generation of skilled young people.

A group of engineering students from Colchester Institute were delighted to help the NIA mark the launch whilst they toured the power station. The students spent time talking with Sizewell B Maintenance Manager Jon Yates, EDF Energy graduate Katie Bannister and Roger Barge, apprentice coordinator at the station.

Katie said: “It was great to meet the students from Colchester Institute at Sizewell B. I know what it is like to be a student keen to find out more about the nuclear industry. My research and the time I spent getting to know people in the industry led to a rewarding career and I hope sharing my experiences may give students an insight into the breadth of jobs available at a nuclear power station.”

Roger Barge, apprentice training co-ordinator, said: “We have 49 apprentices working either at Sizewell B or being trained at HMS Sultan. The training they receive is second to none. Many of our apprentices come from local school and colleges and it is great to see their progression through the programme and share some of their experiences with other students visiting the station.”

Keith Parker, Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association told the students visiting Sizewell B: “There are thousands of opportunities available in the nuclear sector. All roles play a vital part in making sure the UK has a safe and secure, low carbon supply of electricity. With the World Cup in full swing, we need to make sure there’s enough electricity to power the thousands of TVs and kettles which will be on up and down the country, as well as maintain power to vital infrastructure like hospitals, transport and businesses. To do this we need a range of engineers and technical people to work in power stations and across the supply chain.

“And, for you – you’ll earn while you learn and be part of a quality sector. Once qualified, you’ll have a long-term, stable and high quality career, joining the many workers who spend their full career within the industry.”

Research by the NIA found that more than a third (35%) of students studying a STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subject don't believe they can work in the nuclear industry. The survey of 1,376 young people shows that while 32% of respondents would be open to working in the nuclear sector, almost half (43%) don’t believe they are studying a relevant subject and 14% have never heard about career options in the industry, highlighting the importance of careers advice in schools from a young age, to make young people aware of the opportunities in all sectors.

To inform young people about the range of opportunities in the sector and to meet the increase in demand for STEM skills, the NIA has launched re:generation. Not all roles in the sector require a degree and young people will be able to learn on the job through an apprenticeship as an alternative.