Hartlepool nuclear power station offering opportunities in the industry

Simon Parsons
Simon Parsons

HARTLEPOOL is leading the way in finding the nuclear workers of the future - amid national claims that youngsters had never heard of the industry.

A new study claimed many youngsters do not feel they are studying subjects relevant to the nuclear industry.

But Hartlepool is making up for the shortfall with a huge array of ways for teenagers to get involved.

Research among 1,300 young people studying science, engineering and maths, showed almost half did not believe they were relevant to the nuclear industry and 14 per cent had never heard about career options in the industry.

The Nuclear Industry Association said the findings were “worrying”, as up to 140,000 workers could be needed to build new nuclear power plants over the next 15 years as well as decommission current power stations as they are switched off.

As with most engineering sectors, the nuclear industry is facing a skills shortage as employees retire and too few new recruits join the industry, said the NIA.

Chief executive Keith Parker said: “The UK led the way in developing nuclear power and new investment will mean valuable new jobs and skills across the country.

“But because no new nuclear power plants have been built in a generation, we run the risk of losing the skills needed as the current workforce nears retirement.”

Simon Parsons, station director at Hartlepool, said: “Hartlepool power station is playing its part in finding the engineers of tomorrow with our excellent apprentice scheme and also the superb graduate programmes we have.

“But we have gone a step further in linking our experienced engineers with local sixth forms to encourage A level students to pursue a degree in science or engineering but importantly to bring those skills back to this area.

“Our visitor centre is also playing its part in welcoming many hundreds of young people to see engineering in action. On site we employ around 750 people and we plan ahead to ensure that any skills gaps are quickly filled as we want to ensure the station is producing low carbon power beyond 2019.

“And hopefully we will be welcoming some of the A level students we have been working with, and also some younger ones, back to site as EDF Energy employees in the next few years.”