I read with interest the letter from Lloyd Holmes in the 10 December issue of Building Magazine and was pleased to see that he is considering a career in the UK nuclear industry. I was disappointed, though, to see that he views future prospects as “gloomy”

I can assure Lloyd and others like him that nuclear is a most exciting sector to work in at the moment and with the advent of new nuclear build - as well as the decommissioning agenda - it is set to grow significantly over the next few years.

A recent report produced by Cogent SSC, entitled Next Generation, estimates that more than 1,000 new entrants will be required on an annual basis for the next 10 years. This means that there are exciting opportunities for young people such as Lloyd.

Many join via the apprenticeship route while others do so after graduate study.

I wouldn’t recommend any specific discipline ahead of others, but it is crucial to get a good understanding of the nuclear industry and so wide reading on the topic is important.

Lloyd asked about entering after A levels rather than after completing a degree. The best way to do this would be on an apprentice programme and he can then progress up the ladder while working, via a foundation degree. After that an option would be the Certificate of Nuclear Professionalism, which is currently being developed by the National Skills Academy for Nuclear to be aligned to professional membership of the Nuclear Institute. This route enables young people to study, learn and work, all at the same time.

The Skills Academy also offers programmes such as the Award for Nuclear Industry Awareness, which is an ideal way to give anyone interested in the nuclear industry a good understanding of the fundamentals of this highly regulated sector. It is available in distance learning format or via our quality assured provider network.

Further information, and links to many other sites, can be found at www.nuclear.nsacademy.co.uk.

I wish Lloyd well in his career, and I hope we may be lucky enough to attract him into nuclear after all.

Jean Llewellyn, chief executive, National Skills Academy Nuclear