5 Areas Of Focus Of The Nuclear Sector Deal That Will Help Get Into The Nuclear Sector

Updated: Nov 17, 2019

The Nuclear Sector Deal was published in June 2018 and is all about government working with industry to create what needs to happen for nuclear to thrive both now and into the future. This included investing in people which is what Get Into Nuclear and our readers are interested about; on this subject the Nuclear Sector Deal considers five key areas:

  • Delivering a skills strategic plan– undertaking a gap analysis of what the nuclear industry has, what is needed and what needs to be done to plug any gaps.

  • Maintain SME’s– a Subject Matter Expert (SME) pipeline for talent is critical. The Nuclear Sector Deal aims to bring in more PhD’s. Not just through the traditional route but also via the Apprenticeship route. This would allow workers the chance to work at, amongst others Horizon, EDF Energy, Sellafield, NNL giving them the opportunity to get a job with access to money and experience whilst attaining a PhD.

  • Sector Jumping– attracting people from outside of the sector to come into the nuclear industry; this is being called “Sector Jumping”. This gives access to great talent whom are able to bring with them experience of how other industries go about things. It is also appreciated here that this will be a two-way street with people gaining experience and upgrading their CV from within the Nuclear Industry before sector jumping back again.

  • Local Apprenticeships– enabling employers to maximise the use of the Apprenticeship Levy to enable the supply chain to increase the number of apprentices at a local level and ahead of demand.

  • STEM– enabling people and youngsters to see how great it would be to work in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) within the nuclear industry. This is a whole education piece for youngsters to let them see the role models that they are likely to have going forward.

“To enable people who are looking for jobs going forward who want to work in our sector. Encouraging young people to come in, I think is one of the key things that we have to do.”[i] Fiona Rayment, Chair NSSG.

"NSAN is looking forward to working with industry in supporting the implementation of the sector deal and ensuring that the sector has a skilled and diverse workforce to take the nuclear programme forwards."[ii] Jo Tipa, Managing Director NSAN

What is it?

The Nuclear Sector Deal builds on the Nuclear Industry Council Proposals to Government for a Sector Deal[iii] which was written by the Nuclear Industry Association (NIA) on behalf of the Nuclear Industry Council (NIC) lead by Lord Hutton and published in December 2017. The aim of this proposal was in “presenting a series of actions for industry, with government involvement, across key activity areas for our industry” and to provide “an exciting agenda, and a series of opportunities which can best be realised with a shared determination and commitment from both industry and government”.

The Nuclear Sector Deal[iv]outlines the aims of the NIC in helping the UK Nuclear Industry remain competitive against other low-carbon technologies. This will ensure that nuclear remains a viable component of the UK’s energy mix going forward in support of the governments Clean Growth Strategy. This is to be successful by five key commitments:

  1. Ideas – government support to nuclear R&D activities

  2. People – government support to the development of the required pipeline of skills

  3. Infrastructure – government to ensure savings in the decommissioning programme

  4. Business Environment – government to support UK business in building capabilities

  5. Places – government to consider creation of clusters of nuclear expertise

New approaches to manufacturing and construction will help to reduce costs associated the Nuclear New Build (NNB) programme of work. Additional support to developing new nuclear technologies will provide opportunities to improve productivity and skills throughout the UK. Measures to provide greater industry engagement will drive the costs of decommissioning down providing value for the tax payer. These are all claims of the Nuclear Sector Deal.

The key policies include:


  • The Sector Deal sets out how the nuclear sector will be part of this new wave of innovation with a new framework of £56m to support development and deployment of small modular reactors (SMRs) and the innovative technologies that support them.

  • Additionally, £86 million has already been identified to create a new National Fusion Technology Platform at Culham in Oxfordshire and

  • £40 million to develop a thermal hydraulics facility in the north of Wales as part of the Nuclear Innovation Programme.

  • Organisations such as NNL will continue to receive investments to support specialist nuclear R&D infrastructure.

  • Increase the rate of R&D tax credit to 12%


  • The Sector Deal commits to “maximising the use of the Apprenticeship Levy to deliver additional apprenticeship starts in the supply chain”

  • It has also committed to a target of 50% female participation in apprenticeships by 2021.

  • “Despite its complexities, the nuclear industry will do more to attract talent from other sectors…the government will provide a dedicated career champions to work with the sector to understand the unique challenges of safety and security in nuclear to ensure the sector is able to deliver work experience placements”.

  • The government recognises and will continue to support the activities of the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) as the lead on skills for the sector.


  • The Nuclear Sector Deal focuses on ambitious cost reductions across both new nuclear (30% saving) and waste and decommissioning (20 % saving) to ensure the nuclear sector remains competitive with other low-carbon generation technologies.

  • Continue to work with UK nuclear fuel industry to ensure continued, commercial operation of these facilities to deliver future energy security

Business environment

  • Launch and roll out Sector Deals – This Nuclear Sector Deal

  • Fund a programme to demonstrate how advanced manufacturing and construction can reduce costs in a range of products and services across the nuclear industry

  • Develop a coordinated global campaign for promoting the UK’s nuclear expertise overseas

  • The government and industry will explore co-funding a £30 million national supply chain and productivity improvement programme to improve the productivity and competitiveness of the UK nuclear supply chain, reduce barriers to entry and encourage disruptive, innovative businesses and SMEs to enter the sector.


  • The Sector Deal seeks to build on the existing regional strength of the sector through exploring how the advanced manufacturing programme could unlock investment and increase opportunities for local suppliers

Why is it needed?

The Civil UK Nuclear Industry has a long and proud history since opening the world’s first nuclear in 1956 and has continued to provide the country with a low-carbon energy source up until the present day. The UK also remains one of only a few countries “covering the full life cycle of fuel production, generation, decommissioning, waste management and research. The industry consists of major engineering companies supported by a strong supply chain and skills network, a vibrant research capability and a regulatory framework that is respected across the world.”

The Nuclear Sector Deal recognises the opportunities associated with building on this record meeting the objectives set out in the UK’s Industrial Strategy[v] and Clean Growth Challenge[vi]. This ultimately brings about a plethora of opportunity for economic growth, sustainable jobs, international collaboration, UK export and social economic factors. It, however does bring its challenges none less significant than having the workforce to undertake the work.

What does it mean to me?

“The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group’s (NSSG) Strategic Plan highlights the importance of developing the right skills in the right place through a partnership between the government and industry.”

It is expected that by 2021 the UK will need more than 100,000 workers in the nuclear civil and defence sectors, this is up from 87,000, covering generic skills, nuclear skills and Subject Matter Expert (SME) skills. Considering the attrition rate of the sector, there is a requirement for around 7,000 entrants each year to join the sector.

To go hand-in-hand with the key area of investment in People is the Nation Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) who have the mission “To improve the performance of companies in the nuclear industry through collaboration and action on skills[vii].” NSAN is a collaborative skills forum for the nuclear industry working with the large majority of companies and training providers from across the nuclear industry, to provide support and solutions to the skills issues experienced by those committed to the successful delivery of the planned nuclear programme in the UK.

The NSAN website provides support to both organisations large and small and candidates who may be interested to Sector Jump. What this means to you is… this is potentially an opportunity of a lifetime for you to join the most exciting industry in the world right now.

The Nuclear Sector Deal goes on to break down the activities that will need to be undertaken to meet the five key people areas. Below is a summary of those and how they apply to you:

Enhanced skills leadership

The government and the sector will support the activities of the NSSG in the delivery of its Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan[viii]. The plan includes a sectoral diversity strategy which commits the sector to meeting its skills requirements by drawing from a more diverse talent pool. The government and the sector have agreed that, via the NSSG, they will ensure the new Skills Advisory Panels’ national framework for analysis of this data aligns with the annual Nuclear Workforce Assessment[ix] (NWA) 2017.

This is supported by the NSAN website which provides numerous resources for training and learning and also has the Nuclear Skills Passport that provides companies and people with the opportunity to demonstrate their SQEP (Suitably Qualified Experienced Personnel).

A key section of the NWA is The Skills Pyramid which emphasis a key point; “a large section of the workforce transfers from outside of the nuclear sector provide a viable supply route”. This is due to the fact that 81% of the required resources are deemed to be “generic skills” which are “likely to be found outside of the nuclear industry”.

Local apprenticeships

The sector will work to maximise use of the Apprenticeship Levy to enable the supply chain to increase the number of apprentices at a local level and ahead of demand. This could potentially deliver additional apprenticeship starts beyond the 2,000 already planned and target 50% female participation by 2021.

Again, the NSAN website provides up-to-date information and advice on the apprenticeship reforms for both organisations and people. This opens a world of opportunities for anyone interested in an apprenticeship. Many of these will be remote locations which will create multiple social economic benefits also.

Staying at the cutting edge

The government and the sector recognise that more needs to be done to replace Subject Matter Experts (SME) who will be lost as the older generation of nuclear scientists and engineers retire. The government will work with the sector to explore options to increase the number of nuclear-related PhDs by looking at routes to provide additional investment.

There is no doubt that this opportunity will be very attractive to some of the great minds of the UK. The nuclear industry is one of the most complex, interesting and cutting edge in the world. These are being called “Nuclear Trailblazers” by the NSAN where information can be found if you would like to contact one of their Operations Managers.

Sector transferability

Despite the complexities and challenges in nuclear, there are many synergies with other sectors and simplifying the process to bring in these skills is essential to support the future ambitions of the nuclear industry. The government will work with the sector to enable bespoke programmes (such as the NSAN Nuclear Skills Passport) that support the transitioning and transfer of capability between civil, and defence. The sector aims to establish a pilot scheme that enables the transfer of skills between sectors, focused initially on oil and gas, the armed forces and manufacturing.

Watch this space; there are going to be a number of initiatives aimed at attracting talent from other sectors. There are huge opportunities for people that fit the bill.

Exciting the next generation about nuclear

The importance of employer engagement with young people through careers and education was set out in the government’s Post-16 Skills Plan[x]making the most of everyone’s skills and talents. The sector (civil and defence) is committed to engaging with young people despite the challenges that nuclear faces in terms of safety and security regulation.

Where does Get Into Nuclear fit in?

Get Into Nuclear was established in 2014 with one aim in mind, to attract new talent into the UK Nuclear Industry. This is being done in a number of ways.

Our website getintonuclear.com along with our social media channels were originally created by workers in the industry who have found it increasingly frustrating that the information regarding the industry is spread far and wide across the internet, difficult to find, difficult to navigate and not very engaging.

Now things have moved on since 2014 and the Nuclear Sector Deal is one huge step in the right direction; particularly with the support of the NSSG, their Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan and Nuclear Workforce Assessments and NSAN. Getintonuclear.com remains to be uniquely positioned in that we support the UK nuclear industry employers in attracting top talent from outside of the sector. We now have a large number of subscribers and members that are all interested in joining the UK nuclear industry from other sectors. We are trialling our six-steps to getting into nuclear online course and our Get Into Nuclear Candidate Profile Page and search engine. We additionally publish a Nuclear Job of the Week in which we highlight generic and nuclear specific requirements associated with the role to highlight the accessibility of nuclearroles for non-nuclearcandidates.

Check out...

- Get Into Nuclear Candidate - for those looking to start a career in the nuclear industry

- Get Into Nuclear Recruitment - for those looking to fish a different resource pool to find new talent

Social Media and Internet Marketing

The Nuclear Sector Deal Factsheet[xi] calls for help in two ways….we aim to provide help with both.

The first is by reaching people who the deal may impact by posting on social media and creating articles. A separate part of our service is being a part of a Social Media and Internet Marketing nuclear alliance with an extended critically acclaimed agency. We are currently working with a couple of Nuclear Employers and an NGO. We plan to extend our services to other Nuclear Employers and maybe the NSSG themselves or other NGOs.

The reasons we are helping the industry in this way is that companies don’t want to have to figure out what is their best way to get to the results for themselves. They don’t want to become the expert. They just want you to help them get there.And lastly, they want speed. They’ll get to the result a lot faster with our help rather than on their own. 

- Get Into Nuclear Launchpad - for those looking to raise the profile of their nuclear business

The second is something that has been on our ideas board for a while. Then, as if by magic the idea appeared on the Nuclear Sector Deal Factsheet. To hold a round table with key stakeholders discussing the very topic. Get Into Nuclear would be pleased to host such an event, videoing, photographing and transcribing the event. This will be a fantastic opportunity to reach the maximum amount of people who the deal may impact… watch this space!

- Get Into Nuclear Live - for those looking to engage directly with


The Nuclear Sector Deal is such a step forward for the industry. The five key commitments will provide many opportunities across the industry. The “People” commitment with the support of the NSSG is certain to provide opportunities for new roles in the nuclear industry for those current working in other sectors.

Getintonuclear.com has been set up to support you throughout the process. Head on over to the site and register your interest and receive our regular industry updates, particularly on the progress of the above.













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