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Do You have the Right Qualifications for a Job on the Hinkley Point C Nuclear Project?

The UK nuclear new build programme has the potential to create significant employment opportunities. As no nuclear power plant has been constructed in the UK for over 20 years, the industry will need to attract and reskill a new generation of engineering and construction professionals, many of whom will have little or no nuclear experience.

Hinkley Point C, the first of the proposed UK nuclear energy plants is scheduled to become one of Europe’s largest construction projects with a construction cost in the order of £18 billion, an estimated 5,600 construction jobs at peak, equating to 25,000 individual job opportunities over the 10 year construction period, and once built an operational workforce of 900 during its 60-year operation.  

Engineers and construction professionals considering a move into the nuclear sector may have a number of concerns

  1. Are you qualified for a job in nuclear?
  2. What transferable skills do you have that nuclear employers want?
  3. How different is it working in nuclear?

Potential employees interested in working in the nuclear sector may think that it is very specialist or that you need to have previous experience, but this is not necessarily the case. A major part of construction works will require similar skills sets to those of the workforce involved in the construction of major infrastructure projects. Nuclear employers will be keen to attract candidates from other highly regulated industries such as Oil & Gas, Defence, Pharmaceutical, Energy / Water utilities and Infrastructure. There is also likely to be a good cultural fit with suitably qualified construction candidates coming from backgrounds such as the Armed Forces. 

Role profiles detailing qualifications, competency and experience requirements should be developed by Employers and advised to employees as part of the hiring process. EDF have developed a trade competency matrix detailing the mandatory training qualifications required for different categories of worker in Appendix A page 48 of their Hinkley Point C Health, Safety & Environmental Standard.  

In general terms the standard requires

  • Site Managers to have SMSTS, PMSTS, IOSH Managing Safely, Construction Site Management NVQ Level 6.
  • Foreman / Ganger / Supervisors to have CITB / ECITB 2-day Site Supervisors Safety Training Scheme or IOSH Supervising Safely or CCNSG Supervisors Card.
  • Scaffolders to have PASMA specific to the type of scaffolding to be erected and either CISRS Basic or Advanced depending on the scaffold to be erected.
  • Plant / Crane Operators to have CPCS or NPORS for the specific category of plant to be operated.
  • Fabricators and welders to have the appropriate ECITB ACE Card.
  • Electrical workers to meet the training and qualifications detailed in the Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry grading system.

You will need to have the appropriate certifications and undergo the vetting requirements as outlined in our blog post.

All employees working on the project will be expected to be suitably qualified and experienced (SQEP) with appropriate Employer training regimes in place to ensure that staff are kept up to date with the latest requirements. There will be opportunities for re-training and / or up-skilling of construction workers in order to retain them on the project. Training will also be provided for local people looking to work on the project.

Working in a nuclear environment may however not be for everyone. There will be higher levels of H&S compliance, supervision and QA processes. Nuclear may therefore be more suited to employees who prefer a very structured and process driven environment, while those more comfortable in an entrepreneurial and driven environment may find the industry stifling and restrictive. 


A2O People are a specialist Recruitment and HR Consultancy in the Nuclear, Energy and Construction sectors helping people to find permanent and contract jobs and our clients to source local and hard to find construction professionals.

If you are interested in exploring job opportunities on the Hinkley Point C project or in the Nuclear or Energy Construction sectors you can submit your CV or call us on 01278 732073.

We are happy to offer a referral scheme that can help good causes or earn a reward for the referrer, if you know other people who would be interested you can Refer a Colleague or Friend.

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