UK urged to embrace nuclear future to safeguard manufacturing jobs

The nuclear industry has been hailed the UK’s answer for revitalising career opportunities in manufacturing

David Powell, regional vice-president for the UK at Westinghouse, which provides equipment to the nuclear electric power industry, said at a time when mass job cuts and factory closures were dominating the headlines, the development of nuclear technology in the UK provided valuable career opportunities for workers.

Speaking at the annual CBI conference yesterday, during a panel discussion about whether the UK needed a new strategy to boost manufacturing, Powell said: “With all the announcement of job losses by big names in the manufacturing industry, the nuclear industry offers a long-term route to keeping people in a manufacturing career in the UK.”

The UK government confirmed at the start of this year it was in the country’s interest that nuclear power should play a role in providing the UK with clean, secure and affordable energy.

John Rose, chief executive of engineering firm Rolls-Royce, said British employers would be wise to use this shift to nuclear power to their advantage to attract the best talent.

Also speaking on the panel, he said: “[Employees] recognise this is an opportunity that will be available not just for their generation, but for the next 100 years,” adding that wise workers should be keen to focus on getting the right skills for a long-term career in nuclear power.

Earlier this year manufacturing HR directors backed a government shake-up to boost the sector’s image.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform published guidance, following consultation with business groups including the CBI, on how to improve the public perception of a career in manufacturing – from how employers advertise jobs to how the sector is promoted in schools.

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