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Upskilling for Nuclear

Updated: Dec 2, 2022

In this article we will provide with an overview what it is to upskill, why you should considering upskilling and how to go about it.

What is upskilling?

To upskill is to learn a new skill that is needed as part of your career progression.

You could upskill for job security in your current role, to improve your employability in the future when looking for a promotion or seeking to join a new sector such as the nuclear industry.

For our purpose here, we are assuming that you are looking to upskill to close the gap between the skills/qualifications listed on a nuclear job advertisement and your current skillset.

Why upskill?

Chances are, you are reading this to find out more about fulfilling one of the many roles demanded by the nuclear industry. You have undertaken a skills mapping exercise and have identified gaps in your current skillset against a nuclear job that you would like to land.

This is a great reason to upskill and put yourself in with a great chance of landing the role.

However, this is not the only reason to upskill.

As part of any role, technology, methodology, regulation and legislation continue to evolve and it is important to maintain your SQEP for your current role.

You may be considering your next career move in future years and chose to upskill in readiness for seeking that promotion when the time is right.

You may also consider increasing your employability to create job security with your current employer by improving your soft or leadership skills.

How to upskill?

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" Lao Tzu

We've probably all heard this quote before. It is a great metaphor to get going with a task and breaking it down into manageable tasks, or steps.

However, the quote needs to come with a caution.

If the first step is in the wrong direction, you could potential end up thousands of miles away from your intended destination.

This is true of upskilling, if you spend hours, weeks, months or even years completing a course only to find it is not recognised by a profession or is for an application that is not utilised in a sector, you may not be able to apply for that role after all.

Therefore, it is imperative that you get your first step right. We have put together some guidance to make sure this doesn't happen.

1. Start with a wish

Before you undertake most things in your life you need to clearly define your wish, or goal.

Are you looking to sector jump into nuclear? What specific skills to you need to gain to be able to fulfil the role?

Your wish will provide you with a direction to focus on when choosing the subject and type of course you are going to complete.

2. What are your outcomes?

This step is often overlooked, your wish maybe to become the manager of your department. But your outcome could be in support of a larger wish to become the Managing Director of the company one day.

What path is most suited to climbing the company ladder, and what skills are required to support you?

Another outcome could be to be a more confident speaker when providing presentations at work. Or to improve your emotional intelligence to be better understand the needs of your team.

Your outcomes from upskilling yourself will vary from person to person but are essential to provide the perspective that what you are doing now is part of a bigger plan.

3. What obstacles are in your way?

The most obvious obstacles in your way are any skills gaps you have in comparison of the job description you are looking to apply for:

"Attained a qualification in xxx"

"Member of xxx institute"

"Hold a xxx certificate"

The second obstacles that come to mind are experience gaps you have on your CV:

"xxx years qualified"

"Experience of managing a team"

"Comfortable working to deadlines"

Finally, in most job descriptions to are given a guide to the type of behaviours that are desirable for the role:

"Self-motivated individual"

"Deals with and manages conflict"

"Has an attention to detail"

There is however, one group of obstacles that you will not find on a job description, and they are your own limiting beliefs:

"There is no way I am smart enough to do that job"

"I don't know what I'm doing and everyone will see it"

"I can't stand up and talk in front of 30 people every morning"

Once you have your obstacle to achieving your wish in pursuit of your outcomes, you are ready to build you plan.

4. What is your upskilling plan?

At Get Into Nuclear we have found that a good way to narrow in on the upskilling that you need to do right now is to use the Must, Like, Intend technique.

List all of your obstacles as identified above and work through them one-by-one marking that with a M, L or I.

M = the upskilling you must complete to fulfil the role such as a job specific qualification.

I = any upskilling that will improve your chance of landing and being successful in the role such as a mastering a particular software.

L = areas that would be beneficial to upskill but do not affect you in successfully applying for the role such as a leadership training course.

Now you have narrowed your focus on your 'Must' skills gaps, you need to consider what techniques you are going to employ to upskill.

These, in the main boil down to 5 techniques:

  1. Physical, classroom learning - signing up for a course or qualification that is completed in a classroom within an educational facility.

  2. Online Course - upskilling via one of the many available online course providers.

  3. Microlearning - learning a new skill in bite sizes. This could include watching a TED talk or using an app to learn a skill such as a new language.

  4. Mentoring - learning from someone who is good at a skill you wish to learn. Maybe the young person in the office could learn you some MS Excel shortcuts.

  5. Coaching - learning a new skills from someone who has been trained to teach the skill. Maybe get help in establishing your long-term goals and starting to work towards them.

Whatever is your preference way to learn, you need to ensure that is the skill needs to be confirmed by a qualification or certification, that it complies with the acceptance criteria of the the company assessing your SQEP.

A simple example in Project Management: there are a number of project management qualifications that one can undertake to become a proficient project manger. However, many nuclear employers are specific that this qualification should come from the Association of Project Management.

Chose the wrong upskill course could have dire consequences.

Before signing up for a course:

  1. Review the job advertisement for your desired role again to double check the requirements. Find other similar advertisements if possible.

  2. Reach out to the hiring manager. Tell them you wish and ask them is the course you are looking to undertake relevant for the role. People are always so surprised how helpful the person listed as the hiring manager is, even if you are not going to be applying for his specific role.


And there you have it:

Set your clear wish in pursuit of a bigger outcome by identifying your obstacles and planning to upskill yourself to overcome them.

We appreciate this is by no means a simple task to undertake. That is why we provide you with numerous mediums to engage with us and nuclear employers diretly giving you the opportunity to ask your questions on the above:

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