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Published: 19th March 2024

Celebrating Success: UK Nuclear Skills Awards Showcase Industry Excellence

The UK nuclear industry came together to celebrate excellence in skills at the annual UK Nuclear Skills Awards on the 15th of March 2024. The evening, organised by NSAN and Cogent Skills, celebrates the remarkable achievements of individuals and companies, while spotlighting the talent within the sector.

Judged independently by representatives spanning the industry and professional associations, the awards marked its 16th year with a record number of nominations, attracting the largest and most diverse audiences to date. TV presenter and avid adventurer Levison Wood charmed as the evening’s host, setting the stage for an unforgettable celebration.

Adam Ellis, Talent & HR Director of main supporter Rolls-Royce SMR, officially opened the proceedings and welcomed everyone to the 2024 UK Nuclear Skills Awards.

Cailey Miller of Nuvia Ltd took the overall title of UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year, an award judged between the winners of the apprentice categories. Cailey achieved a Distinction at Level 3 of an Engineering Design & Draughtsperson (Mechanical) Apprenticeship and now works as a designer. This award was supported by Westinghouse.

Not only did Cailey secure the top apprentice award, but she also took the title of Advanced Apprentice of the Year, a testament to her exceptional dedication and expertise. This award was supported by Morgan Sindall Infrastructure Ltd. The runners-up for the Advanced Apprentice of the Year were Rhianna Hewer from the National Nuclear Laboratory and Thea Evans from Sellafield Ltd.

Aleah Beattie from the National Nuclear Laboratory claimed the title of Intermediate Apprentice of the Year, supported by GQA Qualifications Ltd. Aleah is a Health Physics Monitor, recently completing a Level 2 apprenticeship and was NNL’s first health physics apprentice.

Alice Steen from BAE Systems Submarines was awarded the Higher & Degree Apprentice of the Year. Alice received a Distinction in BEng Nuclear Engineering Apprenticeship and currently works as a Principal Operations Engineer – Nuclear. This category was supported by Urenco. The runners-up for the Higher & Degree Apprentice of the Year category were Josh Peet from Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Ltd and Leah Green from NIS Ltd.

Natasha Khan, from Mott McDonald, was awarded Graduate of the Year. Natasha achieved a First Class in Physics BSc (Hons) and is now a Graduate Nuclear Safety Engineer. This award was supported by newcleo. The runners-up in the Graduate of the Year category were Alexander Browning from Vulcain Engineering and Heather Pepper from Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Ltd.

Sophie Cooper from the National Nuclear Laboratory (Birchwood) took the inaugural title of Postgraduate of the Year. Sophie achieved a PhD in (Computational) Chemistry and now works as a Chemical Modeller at NNL. The Postgraduate award was supported by NIRO. The runners-up in the Postgraduate of the Year award were Antonio Di Buono National Nuclear Laboratory (Sellafield) and Matthew Jackson from Sellafield Ltd.

The Nuclear Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Adrian Davis-Johnston from Nuvia Ltd. As well as undertaking his day-to day role, Adrian has dedicated the past year to travelling up and down the country delivering the nuclear message face-to-face with the enthusiasm and impact it deserves. Unfortunately, Adrian was unable to attend the evening, Charlie Easton accepted the award on Adrian’s behalf. The Nuclear Ambassador Award was supported by Sellafield Ltd. The runners-up in this category were Creshia Jones from WIN UK and Maddison Porter from BAE Systems Submarines.

Kathryn Swan from Cavendish Nuclear Ltd was presented with the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Champion Award. As well as Kathryn’s full-time role and studying part time for a degree, Kathryn is the Chair of the Gender Balance Network and a STEM Lead volunteer. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority supported this award. Dylan Watmough from the National Nuclear Laboratory and Gemma Moore from Jacobs were the runners-up in the ED&I Champion category.

Taking the company award for Sustainability through Skills was Morgan Sindall Infrastructure who set up All Together Cumbria, a Community Interest Company (CIC), with a vision ‘To develop a more sustainable workforce for the future of West Cumbria.’  The award was supported by Cavendish Nuclear Ltd. The runners-up in the Sustainability through Skills award were Bechtel Cavendish Nuclear Solutions and Programme and Project Partners at Sellafield.

The second company-focussed award of the evening was the Employer and Provider Partnership of the Year award. This was awarded to EDF Energy and Bridgwater College, celebrating a 12-year partnership. This award was supported by SIAS. The runners-up in this category were Sellafield and Wigan & Leigh College and EDF Energy & Vulcain.

During the evening, two special recognition awards were presented. The NSAN Honorary President’s Award is given by Dame Sue Ion, in recognition of an individual’s outstanding commitment to the industry. This year the award was presented to Dr Fiona Rayment. Fiona, a prominent leader in the world of nuclear, is known for her passion and innovation, alongside her unwavering commitment to collaboration and skills development. Fiona’s past positions include the Board of NSAN and Chair of the NSSG.

Also honoured, were the four individuals, Arun Khuttan, Callum Thomas, Saralyn Thomas, and Vicki Dingwall, credited with the original idea for Destination Nuclear. Destination Nuclear launched earlier this year to help attract people into nuclear and help to support the increase of between 75,000 and 150,000 new recruits needed.

Justine Fosh, CEO of Cogent Skills, said:

Now in their 16th Year, these fantastic Nuclear Skills Awards are once again shining a light on the UK nuclear sector’s talent. I am so delighted to congratulate both the winners and the finalists.

These Awards continue to show the commitment the nuclear industry has to investing in workforce skills and developing people. All the nominees and winners are a real credit to the sector, and we wish them continued success in their careers and in acting as such fantastic role models to others in the sector.

Future Ready

Cogent Skills is sector based, working with companies from across the Science and Technology Industries embracing Life Sciences, Industrial Sciences and Nuclear.
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