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Introspection and workforce: should the industry shape its future, or the future shape our industry?

Oct 14, 2021

Sophie Dayraut, FORATOM Junior Communications Manager

How can we move forward and ensure our work better reflects the priorities of the industry? This is a question that triggered a deep introspection process at the beginning of 2021. If anything, the past year and a half has brought a new perspective on things, as well as a need to do them a bit differently. This is why trying to find the right angle to approach our work on Education & Training finally led to a revamping of the relevant working group. Adding a workforce aspect to its scope, the group’s future work will focus on three pillars.

Nuclear competences needs

Because the industry needs to identify potential gaps and make sure that its workforce’s skills correspond to its needs in the long term, we need to have an overview of the different competences the nuclear industry currently has and will need in the future. If this issue is ignored, the industry risks finding a growing disconnect between what it actually needs and available training possibilities, which could result in a skills gaps in the future. This means anticipating competence needs for future technologies such as SMRs and Gen IV, but also making sure that the industry can adapt to an increasingly digitalised world.

Render nuclear more attractive

Some national policies tend to suggest that there is no future for nuclear in the EU, thus discouraging young people from joining the nuclear field. Reversing this trend – with EU policies speaking more positively on nuclear – would ensure that the EU has a sufficient number of people coming into the field. This would allow the industry to continue its nuclear activities and help it avoid workforce shortages across Europe.

Reskilling/reconversion options

With the looming twin transition, workers in carbon-intensive industries will be looking for reconversion options. Having a clear overview of potential areas of reconversion and competences already available would allow the simplification of their future reconversion process. If it doesn’t make sure that it has a clear overview of its reconversion process and possibilities, the nuclear sector risks being overlooked by workers who want to reconvert.

Based on those three pillars, through the sharing of experience and best practices, as well as by bringing together education and training providers, human resources specialists, communications experts and other relevant stakeholders, we want to create a long-term vision for the industry’s workforce. One that should be forward-looking, resilient and able to adapt to an everchanging world.

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