The UK government has begun talks with EDF about the construction of a new £20bn nuclear power plant in Suffolk. The Sizewell C site could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, enough to provide 7% of the UK's needs.
Yesterday's announcement is part of the long-awaited Energy White Paper, which ministers say will support up to 220,000 jobs over the next decade. The paper sets out specific steps to cut emissions from industry, transport and buildings. The policies should remove 230 million metric tonnes of emissions, which is equivalent to taking 7.5 million petrol cars off the road, the government says.
The paper outlines a policy to boost competition in the energy retail market to tackle the "loyalty penalty" in which long-standing customers pay more than new ones. It will also provide at least £6.7bn in support to the fuel poor and most vulnerable over the next six years.
We asked Morson's Adam Ritchie, head of client development, and Natalie Pritchard-Barret, nuclear and renewables recruitment consultant, for their thoughts on yesterday's Sizewell C announcement...
Reigniting talks over Sizewell C is a landmark step and a significant confidence boost for the UK’s economic outlook, as a green light for the £20bn nuclear power station would deliver substantial energy efficiency benefits in enabling the UK to achieve Net Zero by 2050, whilst creating some 25,000 white and blue collar roles and apprenticeships.
At its peak, the project is expected to need up to 3,600 civil construction workers followed by 3,300 mechanical, engineering and heating specialists, combined with a further 2,000+ management and support roles, which collectively will deliver a legacy far beyond the build.
EDF has already signalled its commitment to ensuring Sizewell C acts as a catalyst for change, particularly for local labour and those at entry-level, by delivering skilled careers for life, which is exactly what we’ve witnessed through Sizewell B and other similar power projects. Combine this with the Government and EDF’s unified ambition to reach 40% women working in the civil nuclear sector by 2030, adds further momentum in the project’s ability to create equal opportunities, skills and employment, and promote positive outcomes for all.
Whatever the outcome, the Government’s pledge to ‘build, build, build’ is clear and we’re committed to sharing best practice amongst our portfolio and strategically forecasting skills needs to capitalise on current and future talent.
Our leading presence in nuclear and local office capability ensures we’re perfectly placed to mobilise active candidate pools, whilst leveraging our experience of identifying transferable skills from outside traditional markets. Ensuring we have access to the right skillsets when it matters most will be crucial, with Sizewell C’s build schedule overlapping the likes of HS2, Hinkley Point C – albeit on a different phase of delivery – as well as numerous offshore wind farms, which adds further pressure to labour resourcing needs.