A new training initiative for nuclear employers to help increase workforce diversity and create more inclusive workplaces is now open to engineering construction employers.

Young engineers of different backgrounds mingle in the workshop.Delivered by training organisation EqualEngineers, the ECITB-funded course – Engineering a Winning Workforce: Engaging the Majority – aims to help address industry skills gaps, improve staff wellbeing and retention.

Following on from Diversity and Inclusion in UK Nuclear’s 2019 landmark conference, which brought together the nuclear sector, the course aims to attract a wider array of new recruits to the nuclear sector, and, at the same time, tackle workforce diversity and inclusion. This action is in partnership with the ECITB, who are funding the course for all in-scope engineering construction employers, and Diversity and Inclusion in UK Nuclear, who are part-funding the course delivery.

EqualEngineers founder Dr Mark McBride-Wright has created the course to encourage engineers to adapt their familiarity with positive safety cultures into new approaches to inclusive and safe workplaces using the same principles.

Dr McBride-Wright said: “Our training has been delivered to major engineering employers in the defence, aerospace, rail and energy sectors. We engage with these male-majority teams of engineers, technicians and operatives to reshape the narrative around equality, diversity and inclusion efforts in a way that they feel included and informed.”

Chris Claydon - ECITB Chief Executive

ECITB CEO Chris Claydon

Chris Claydon, ECITB Chief Executive, said: “This is a great initiative that recognises both the need to recruit from a more diverse talent pool and to create an inclusive workplace that gives current employees a sense of belonging and purpose. We know from consultation with engineering construction employers that diversity and inclusion are priority issues and this is reflected in our new three-year strategy which received the overwhelming backing of industry in October.

“We are particularly keen to boost diversity in the sector and this is just one initiative to encourage, more ethnic diversity, more female representation, LGBT+ candidates, disabled candidates and those who are coming from more deprived areas, to embark on a career in nuclear,” Chris said.

Diversity and Inclusion in UK Nuclear co-founder, Monica Mwanje said: “The workshop shares practical tips and tools and provides space for important and nuanced discussion. By taking the workshop to different locations around the UK, we are aiming to make it easier for people to participate and benefit from this training.”

Currently the nuclear industry is 22% female, but the Government’s Nuclear Sector deal sets a challenging target of a 40% female workforce by 2030.  Research consistently demonstrates that diverse and inclusive workforces lead to better business, through increased productivity and innovation, and therefore will contribute to the cost reduction and export targets outlined in the Nuclear Sector Deal.

The ECITB is working in partnership with the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG) to support entry of those from under-represented groups into the engineering construction workforce.

The course will be offered nationwide with key dates in locations where there are clusters of nuclear sector companies.