BEEAs Winners: nucleargraduates

The winner of Engineering Ambassador of the Year was Energus, with its nucleargraduates programme

Category Sponsor: #engineeringheroes

Headline Sponsor: Distrupol

Judges' Quote: "Energus’ breadth of activity is truly impressive, as it responds to new challenges and skills shortages at a time of profound change within the nuclear industry"

nucleargraduates was established by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2008 to bring together organisations across the industry to attract the next generation of graduates in a strategic, yet cost effective manner. In 2010 the programme became commercially funded by the first four sponsoring companies. It is now run by Energus, under licence to the NDA, has 11 sponsors and works with over 100 secondment hosts both nationally and internationally.

Innovative and unique, nucleargraduates is like no other graduate scheme. It provides opportunities to those who take them and challenges graduates every day to develop themselves into well-rounded, competent individuals who will become future leaders across the industry.

The programme has seen over 380 graduates recruited to the programme and another 43 have just started their journey in November.

The UK's nuclear industry is facing its biggest challenge in decades. A maturing workforce combined with decommissioning and new projects means the industry is facing a skills gap. The sector needs young, diverse and innovative graduates to meet workforce demand and address the critical engineering, science, and commercial skills shortages across the industry. The Nuclear Workforce Assessment states that by 2030 the sector will require between 40,000 and 60,000 full time posts, enthusing the next generation to be able to fulfil these requirements has never been more important.

nucleargraduates is a programme where extraordinary individuals with strong problem-solving abilities, flexibility and communication skills get their careers in the industry off to a flying start. nucleargraduates is an exciting gateway to one of the most stable and secure industries in the UK. The programme furnishes the graduates with transferrable skills, behavioural competencies and valuable experiences from domestic and international secondments, conferences, and visits, all enhance their contribution to sponsors, future employers and local, regional and national economies.

Working with the nuclear sector, nucleargraduates are supporting the changes within the industry and targets included in the Nuclear Sector Deal, specifically in relation to equality and diversity where the target is 40% females by 2030. Cohort 2019 who joined the programme in October 2019 has 46% female and Cohort 2020 who joined November 2020 has 40% female participation, nucleargraduates are helping achieve this target.

The Nuclear Skills Strategic Plan includes a sectoral diversity strategy committing the sector to meeting it's skills requirements by drawing from a more diverse talent pool. To support this strategy, the programme requires all graduates to undertake STEM activities to ensure the next generation of engineers, scientists and industry leaders. This could involve organising lunchtime or after school clubs with primary children, developing STEM materials detailing career opportunities or by visiting their old secondary schools for World of Work and aspiration sessions.