Mike Graham, Prospect National Secretary and union representative on the new academy’s board, said: "This is a positive step which will be vital to underpinning the government’s programme of new nuclear build and cutting the UK’s carbon emissions.
"Our evidence shows that well over 50% of the technical workforce is within 15 years of retirement. It takes between five to six years of training to prepare people for the demands of building, running and maintaining complex nuclear sites so this comes not a moment too soon.
"By involving the key stakeholders in the provision of high quality science and engineering training we are sending out the message that this is a vibrant industry that can provide careers for life, essential if we are to convince school children of the benefits of working in nuclear engineering."
But Graham said that as well as looking to the workforce of the future, essential action must be taken to maintain the present skill base, currently threatened by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s proposed cuts in funding for the Magnox reactor sites.
Prospect is the largest union for employees in the nuclear industry. It represents over 15,000 members working as scientists, engineers and professional staff employed by the British Nuclear Group, UK Atomic Energy Authority, Magnox Electric, British Energy and other companies, in operation and technical management, research and development and establishing and monitoring safety standards.