Nuclear energy professionals work with nuclear technology to produce energy on a large-scale. They may be involved in the design and development of the processes involved with nuclear energy or may operate nuclear power stations.
It is possible to enter into employment in nuclear energy through securing a place on an apprentice scheme straight from school. Candidates for these apprenticeship schemes usually require GCSEs. Apprentices receive training from experienced staff and through college courses that lead to NVQs, BTECs or City & Guilds qualifications.
For those wishing to gain an engineering degree before entering into nuclear energy jobs, at least two A levels in maths and physics are required. Talented engineering graduates may be able to secure themselves places on graduate training schemes.
The nuclear energy industry is growing and employment prospects for staff are very good. In Britain, major nuclear fuel sites can be found in various locations, including Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. Details of employment openings tend to appear through recruitment agencies.
Nuclear energy workers usually work 37 hours a week, often on a shift system that covers all seven days of the week. Those employed in nuclear power stations tend to spend all their time indoors. However, time may also be spent in laboratories, offices and workshops.
Salaries for nuclear energy workers vary, depending upon their qualifications and experience. Starting salaries for energy generation apprentices with GCSEs are around £9,000 a year. Starting salaries for newly-graduated nuclear energy engineers, on the other hand, are around £24,000 a year. Promotion prospects for nuclear energy professionals who gain experience and further their skills are good. They may progress into senior positions or set themselves up as freelance consultants.