Addressing The Nuclear Skills Shortage

Addressing the Nuclear Skills Shortage

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Addressing the Nuclear Skills Shortage

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago
  • Author: Rebecca Graves

Unlocking local skills, securing fresh investment and increasing diversity will be the key to future proofing our nuclear workforce – as NRL’s Egremont Director Rebecca Graves discusses with In-Cumbria business magazine.

NRL are no strangers to the nuclear industry, with roots that date back to 1983, when the modest family-owned Recruitment and Non-Destructive Testing business began operating from a base at Sellafield. Since then the nuclear and engineering specialists have gone from strength to strength, facing every challenge and opportunity with community and clients at the heart of what they do. Recently named Britain’s Best Engineering Recruitment Agency and with a projected 2022 turnover of £180m, they have never forgotten that their national success is underpinned by their Cumbrian heritage.

On a nationwide level the UK has a clear ambition to become a global nuclear leader. It is widely acknowledged that this ambition can only be realised if the industry is supported by a workforce with the skills, capacity and capability required to successfully deliver current and future nuclear programmes.

For decades NRL’s local recruitment team who are based in Egremont have been key delivery partners to countless clients and frameworks, supporting Sellafield’s unique schedule of decommissioning. While Cumbria continues to see consistent growth in its decommissioning portfolio it is also looking more and more likely that we may be entering a new phase in our atomic history.


“it is imperative that as an industry we collaborate to future proof our nuclear talent pool in Cumbria, ensuring we have the skills needed for the future of our industry.”


In whatever format the next generation of nuclear power is brought to life in the region, the biggest challenge will be ensuring we have the skills to build and maintain these complex facilities.

For NRL Director Rebecca Graves this challenge is not unfamiliar:

“As we look to the future with Moorside earmarked as one of the government’s eight designated new nuclear sites and Rolls Royce SMR reaffirming their interest in the area for their first of a kind Small Modular Reactor, there is likely to be an unprecedented demand for nuclear skills.

Combine this with multiple major infrastructure projects running in parallel, an ageing nuclear workforce, high levels of attrition, difficulty in talent attraction, low levels of diversity and a lack of specialist skills, and we could be in for an incredibly challenging time.

These challenges cannot be overcome independently, it is imperative that as an industry we collaborate to future proof our nuclear talent pool in Cumbria, ensuring we have the skills needed for the future of our industry.

What we need to focus on now is; recruiting and retaining talent, identifying skill gaps, apprenticeships, transferable skills, STEM subjects in school and highlighting the benefits of a career in nuclear early.”

If you’re concerned about the skill shortage or interested in collaborating to future proof Cumbria’s globally recognised nuclear workforce, then please contact Rebecca on

You can read the full September issue of In-Cumbria business magazine online.