The Managing Director of an innovative nuclear decommissioning company has insisted the industry needs to significantly adapt its methods in order to address the ongoing skills shortage crisis.
As the industry looks to move to more sustainable ways of generating electricity and using fewer carbon emissions, Phil Redfern, of Cumbria-based React Engineering, has underlined the importance of the industry taking affirmative action to evolve its techniques in order to attract the country’s most talented young people.
As the nuclear industry moves to these more environmentally friendly practices, companies specialising in nuclear decommissioning must demonstrate that it can safely and cost effectively deal with waste arising from historic operations, said Phil.
And to achieve this, he continued, more action needs to be taken to attract talented young people, who will spearhead the changes, by offering them incentives to join an evolving industry.
He said: “It has to be said that our industry can suffer from a lack of diverse thinking and pragmatism, particularly during the early stages of project definition and design development, and this needs to be addressed if we are to progress decommissioning in a timely and cost-effective manner.
“More than ever, there is an increased demand for talented people, and young people, including graduates, should be the lifeblood of our industry; they have the fresh ideas, a varied approach to problem solving and the energy and enthusiasm to make things happen.
“A key to our approach needs to focus on building capability for the future and to achieve this we need a pipeline of talented, young people with the right technical qualifications to go with the softer skills typically obtained by individuals who have studied for a degree at university.”
React Engineering has relaunched an innovative undergraduate employment scheme to attract young people into the industry. React Futures is a pioneering programme aimed at school leavers offering full-time employment and ongoing support through their higher education journey.
As part of React Futures, people will get a job from day one and they will gain valuable work experience. They will get one year in industry with React Engineering before heading off to university to study full-time.An attractive salary throughout their university years will be offered in addition to practical work experience during the summer holidays and a full-time job in a supportive yet challenging environment once they have graduated.
Following their studies, successful applicants will benefit from continuous professional development as they work towards attaining renowned Chartered status in their field of expertise.
Phil said: “Due to the geography of the React Engineering headquarters in West Cumbria, there are a unique set of challenges and barriers to attract, develop and retain the required talented individuals to deliver such complex decommissioning programmes and enable sustainable business growth and diversification.
“This is why we have relaunched an innovative undergraduate employment scheme, React Futures, where we offer school leavers an opportunity to kick start their career in the industry through an ongoing support programme.
“Young people truly are our future and, with additional support from React’s charitable organisation The React Foundation which inspires and encourages young people to study STEM subjects, we are fully committed to developing and shaping the very best talent in the UK.