In post-Brexit Britain, concerns over engineering skills shortages run high in the wake of the Government’s commitment to the building of major infrastructure projects such as Hinkley Point C.
Yet, this is a golden age for the engineering industry, which contributes a vast £280bn to the UK economy. With more than £400bn worth of projects in the pipeline, including High Speed 2, Crossrail 2, expansion at London City airport and Hinkley Point C, the message post EU referendum is clear – Britain is most definitely open to global trade on a massive scale.
The £18billion nuclear project will demand skilled workers on a scale not seen in this country for more than 25 years since the last nuclear plant, Sizewell-B, was built. Inevitably, many of those workers have now retired or moved overseas. Hinkley Point C is estimated to generate 25,000 new jobs in the area to support the construction, infrastructure and servicing needs of the project. Moreover, 60 per cent of these roles will come from 47 different construction occupations. From steel fixers, scaffolders, mechanical engineers and all related construction trades, it will be vital to have these skilled people in place to ensure successful completion.
The high demand for skilled workers in this sector could not have been foreseen in past decades, when a downturn in the engineering sector slowed training requirements and investment in nuclear energy looked unlikely. The good news is that the UK already has a large, highly skilled workforce capable of delivering the most complex construction projects. Furthermore, we have committed to training people in skills that have never been used in the UK before, ensuring they are primed to keep pace with advances in nuclear technology.
To cope with these major infrastructure projects, we are investing more in training apprentices and graduates, and this long term project provides us with the opportunity to bridge the skills gap at grassroots level. By working with colleges and universities and developing internships within the nuclear supply chain, we can positively address the future skilling needs of the later stages of nuclear build programmes and the continuing decommissioning process. Here at Morson, our team utilises its presence in related industries such as aerospace, rail and oil and gas, to secure the talent which will enable the successful delivery of these ambitious schemes.
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