Highlighting Excellence in Skills for Nuclear

The Nuclear Industry held its ninth annual UK Nuclear Skills Awards on the 16th March.  During the evening the nuclear stars of the present and future were announced.

The awards, organised by The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) and Cogent Skills, was hosted by the lead singer of Iron Maiden, pilot and entrepreneur Bruce Dickinson. The event brought the nuclear industry together to celebrate the success and high achievement of learners nominated for awards in Apprentice, Foundation Degree/HND and Graduate disciplines.

The Main Sponsor on the evening was NuGen. NuGen is a UK nuclear joint venture between Toshiba and ENGIE.  NuGen’s Moorside project aims to develop a new generation nuclear power station on land in West Cumbria – enough to power 6 million homes and equivalent to 7 per cent of the UK’s electricity requirements.

The top award of the evening was the heavily contested UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by the NDA, which was won by Jack Riley from Sellafield Ltd, who also won the Scientific/Technical Apprentice of the Year category, which was sponsored by AWE.


Above (L-R) Les Studholme - Sellafield, David Vinall from sponsor NDA, Jack Riley - UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year 2017 from Sellafield and awards host Bruce Dickinson.

Jack completed an Advanced Scientific Apprenticeship and currently works in Analyst/Technical Support. Jack represents Sellafield Ltd on the board of the North West Young Apprentice Ambassador Network. In conjunction with this, Jack has also been a STEM Ambassador. Since completing his apprenticeship Jack has started the process to join the Royal Society of Chemistry and hopes to become a Chartered Chemist.

The UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year was decided from the winners of the apprentice discipline awards as follows: 

Taking the title of Business Support Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Ultra Electronics, was Jason Savage from Sellafield Ltd.  Jason completed a Business Administration Apprenticeship and currently works as a Social Impact Supply Chain Assistant.

Above (l-r) Les Studholme - Sellafield, Jason Savage - Sellafield, Rebecca Weston - Sellafield, Rikki Douglas - Ultra Electronics and Bruce Dickinson.

Taking the title of Maintenance Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by NIS Ltd, was Arron Whitehouse from Rolls-Royce.  Arron completed an Advanced Technical Apprenticeship and currently works as a Manufacturing Services Engineer.

Above (l-r) Gill Marsden - NIS Ltd, Adrian Hunt - Rolls Royce, Arron Whitehouse - Rolls Royce and Bruce Dickinson.

The Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by Mocha, was awarded to Joseph Key from Ultra Electronics. Joseph completed an Advanced Apprenticeship in Manufacturing and currently works as a Trainee Production Technician.

Above (l-r) Rikki Douglas - Ultra Electronics, Joseph Key - Ultra Electronics, Phil Halpin - Mocha and Bruce Dickinson.

Taking the title of Small to Medium Apprentice of the Year, sponsored by NIA, was Daniel King from Ultra Electronics. Daniel completed an Electrical & Electronic Engineering Advanced Apprenticeship and currently works as a Trainee Technician.

Above (l-r) Tom Greatrex - NIA, Rikki Douglas - Ultra Electronics, Daniel King- Ultra Electronics and Bruce Dickinson

The FD/HND Student of the Year, sponsored by WiN UK, was awarded to Natalie White from the National Nuclear Laboratory.  Natalie completed a Foundation Degree in Business and currently works as a HR & Recruitment Assistant.

Above (l-r) Paul Howarth - NNL, Natalie White - NNL, Jack Gritt - WiN UK and Bruce Dickinson

The Science Graduate of the Year, sponsored by Bechtel was awarded to Grace Frost from nucleargraduates.  Grace studied a Masters in Chemistry and is currently a graduate on the nucleargraduates programme.  Unfortunately Grace was unable to make the event, so her award was accepted on her behalf by Adrienne Easterbrook from nucleargraduates.

Above (l-r) Ty Troutman - Bechtel, Adrienne Easterbrook - nucleargraduates and Bruce Dickinson

Taking the title of Engineering Graduate of the Year, sponsored by Sellafield Ltd, was Esmael Musaji from BAE Systems Submarines.  Esmael completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering and currently works as the Engineering lead for atmosphere related systems on the astute class submarines.

Above (l-r) Steve Bostock - Sellafield, Joanne Joyland - BAE Systems, Esmael Musaji - BAE Systems and Bruce Dickinson

The new award for Postgraduate Student of the Year, sponsored by NSSG, was awarded to Michael Hodgson from Centronic. Michael completed a PhD in Detector Physics and currently works as a Design & Development Engineer.

Above (L-R) John Male - NSSG, Michael Hodgson, Dr McKeag - Centronic and Bruce Dickinson

The winner of the STEM Ambassador Award, sponsored by BAE Systems Submarines, was Geoff Owens from URENCO UK Ltd. For the last 7 years Geoff has actively volunteered in URENCO’s STEM programme which has led to him engaging with over 1000 students.

Above (l-r) Adam Hearnden - BAE Systems, Geoff Owens - URENCO and Bruce Dickinson

Tom Samson from the Dinner’s main sponsor, NuGen commented:

“NuGen is delighted to be the main sponsor of the UK Nuclear Skills Awards dinner for the third year.  Events like this are essential to continually highlight the vital work done by training and education professionals.

“Our need to develop, train and educate a highly skilled workforce - and the importance to retain that talent in a competitive world - will determine the success of our industry”.


 Jean Llewellyn OBE, Chief Executive of the National Skills Academy for Nuclear said:

“The UK Nuclear Skills Awards highlights the exceptional quality of people of all levels, who are committed to careers in the nuclear sector.  

I would like to personally congratulate all of the winners and finalists, they are all examples of excellence in skills development and I wish them all the very best for the future.”


Access the image library from the evening


Notes to editors

The National Skills Academy for Nuclear is a ‘not for profit’ membership organisation that exists to improve the performance of companies in the nuclear industry through collaboration and action on skills. NSAN is aiding in improving skills in the nuclear industry by setting the highest standards of excellence, leading the sourcing and provision of skills solutions and expanding our sector’s capabilities.  NSAN works collaboratively to deliver outstanding levels of service, enhancing the value we provide to members.

NSAN was approved by government on the 24th September 2007. NSAN is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary during 2017.