Concrete and rebar skills threat to nuclear plans

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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A massive training programme will be needed to equip 17,000 construction workers with the skills needed to build the next generation of nuclear power stations.

Latest research from CITB-ConstructionSkills shows the eight planned nuclear projects will create only 6,000 new jobs despite a potential capital investment of £26bn.

The number of new jobs is relatively low because of the capital, rather than labour, intensive nature of nuclear construction work.

The CITB research predicts total construction employment will rise by 10% or 263,000 to 2.78m by 2020.

When the extra boost of a potential nuclear building programme is factored in that increase rises to 10.7% or 269,000 new jobs across the industry.

The report highlights the need to re-skill the existing workforce in areas where nuclear plants are planned.

And it warns that rebar fixers, concretors and scaffolders will be the trades in most demand.

An extra 2,000 concretors and rebar fixers will be needed by the potential peak of nuclear building in 2018.

CITB-ConstructionSkills has linked-up with the National Skills Academy for Nuclear to boost training in the sector to cope with future demand.

CITB-ConstructionSkills Chief Executive Mark Farrar said: “The industry needs to ensure that it has the right skills to be able to meet the demands of the nuclear build project.

“Nuclear represents a big cultural shift in terms of behaviours needed on site.

“Safety considerations are far more prominent and complex than in other industries and need to be fully understood.

“Therefore it is vital that UK construction contractors in the bidding run for the New Nuclear Build programme are involved early with us. In striving to develop and prepare the future nuclear workforce we are working to help business succeed and grow.

“We need to appreciate the current strengths and weaknesses of the skills base and promote effective transition planning with employers and trade unions, ensuring that the UK Supply Chain is ready to play its part in the ‘nuclear’ renaissance.”

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