British Energy chief tasks HR with the job of finding staff for new nuclear plants

British Energy chief executive Bill Coley has placed his HR team at the heart of the company’s bid to provide the UK’s new nuclear power stations.

Coley said the energy producer would strive to use British workers to run the new plants, countering fears that foreign specialists would be brought in to handle the increased capacity the government demands.

“HR is the leader in this,” he told Personnel Today. “That is the charge we have given the department – to make sure we have suitably qualified people.”

A lack of new nuclear activity across the globe in recent years has left other countries just as low on new recruits as the UK, Coley said.

“No-one has an excess of personnel so it is difficult to parachute operators into the UK. However, employees are very, very important so my objective is a constant stream of employees into new nuclear power.”

Last year EDF Energy HR director Tim Boylin said that the French-owned company would look across the Channel for specialist nuclear workers.

A National Skills Academy for Nuclear was launched by skills minister David Lammy and energy minister Malcolm Wicks earlier this year to help nuclear employers tackling skills shortages.

Research by the academy found that the sector would need to recruit up to 9,000 graduates and 4,500 skilled tradespeople over the next 10 years – before taking into account the new-build programme.

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