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Nuclear engineering Apprenticeships

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Helping you find a career in the Nuclear engineering industry

Nuclear power provides around 20% of the UK’s electricity, so it’s big business and requires a skilled workforce to make sure the power is being sourced safely and efficiently.

The nuclear industry is expected to expand drastically in the next few years as many plants are nearing the end of their life-cycle, which means that they will need to be decommissioned and others will be built in order to meet the demand of nuclear power in the UK.

Plans for the new nuclear power stations have already been confirmed and they are expected to create over 35,500 jobs across the UK in the near future. There are multiple different roles that are available within nuclear. You could work inside one of the new plants as a nuclear engineer; play a role in designing and building a new plant or be part of the decommissioning team that shuts an old plant down.

However, most of these roles will require a science or engineering degree as the work is highly specialised. One third of the nuclear workforce has a master’s degree.

A graduate scheme is a great way to learn about the nuclear industry after your degree and get a structured introduction that will help to fill in any gaps in your knowledge. It will also provide information into the range of work that is available.

The aging workforce in the nuclear industry means almost half are eligible to retire within the next ten years. The industry is anticipating a skills gap in light of this, so it’s a great time to get your foot in the door.

Skills & interests required for a career in Nuclear engineering
Typically your degree will need to be science or engineering, although not necessarily nuclear. There are not a great number of nuclear degrees available; so many companies will offer further in-house training.

You will need an understanding of engineering and technology, including the theory and practical applications. It’s likely you’ll be working on complex problems and you must be able to approach these logically and quickly.

The nature of this work also means that you’ll need to be health and safety conscious and act quickly if you notice something is wrong.

Some other skills that will help you in the nuclear industry are:
- Attention to detail
- Communication
- IT skills
- Leadership
Nuclear engineering apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
The typical career progression for a graduate would be a junior engineer, then an engineer and finally reaching a senior engineer or manager with some years of experience. Some choose to move into research or university teaching after some years of working.
What do Nuclear engineering professionals get paid?
As a junior nuclear engineer or technician you are likely to earn around £24,000-£29,000, which will go up to £30,000-£50,000 once you’re a fully qualified engineer. Senior nuclear engineers or managers can earn up to £80,000.

If you choose to specialise within a different area of nuclear, such as research or project management, the salaries will vary accordingly.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Nuclear engineering?
For a graduate scheme you will need a degree and it’s likely that the company will specify that it must be in engineering or science. The exact academic requirements will vary depending on the employer.

Similarly, most entry-level jobs in nuclear will require a science or engineering degree.

For some roles you will need to have a master’s degree. However, some employers will fund this if you enter the workplace with an undergraduate degree. If this is important to you, make sure that you research whether this is a possibility in the company you’re interested in working for!

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