Delivering Projects during a Skills Shortage: Lessons Learned from the UK Nuclear Industry
- A. Warwick (Atkins) | John Penney (Atkins) | K. Krishna (Atkins)
- Document ID
- Offshore Technology Conference
- Offshore Technology Conference, 30 April-3 May, Houston, Texas, USA
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2012. Offshore Technology Conference
- 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.6.10 Coring, Fishing
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A recent Economist Intelligence Unit report on the future of the oil & gassector canvassed the views of nearly 200 board-level executives andpolicymakers on a range crucial industry affairs, from new investmentopportunities to future regulatory challenges and the rise of a new breed of'internationalized' national oil companies over the next decade.
One of the key findings from the subsequent round table discussion (facilitatedby GL Noble Denton) was that more needs to be done to develop the nextgeneration of oil and gas professionals. Faced with a period of investment andexpansion, the sector will come against challenges as a result of its failureto attract, recruit and retain highly talented people. The discussion concludedthat the industry needs to work more closely together to address the skillsproblem, rather than trying to pursue each others' technical staff. Withactivity set to rise in the sector, companies need to focus on introducing anddeveloping technical resource now, ensuring that the right talent is in placefor the future.
Atkins has been helping the UK nuclear industry to overcome similar challengesin recent years.
The UK nuclear supply base had been gradually declining over the last 20 yearssince the completion of the last power station at Sizewell. This has beencompounded by the hold placed on the deep waste repository and the prolongedhiatus between the Vanguard class submarine program and the Astute classSubmarines in the defense sector. This has led to government concerns that theUK capability would not be sustainable, with many of the current UK nuclearsupport needs more design and major project related than the consultancy typework of the last two decades. This requires a greater focus on technicalassurance and process compliance to ensure that project delivery and qualityrisk is managed appropriately.
This paper outlines the processes that Atkins is using to increase staffnumbers and develop its in-house technical expertise in response to the currentand anticipated needs of the UK nuclear industry; whilst at the same timeensuring technical quality is maintained and project delivery risk isminimized
The UK supply base had been gradually declining over the last 20 years sincethe completion of the last UK nuclear power station at Sizewell, compounded bythe hold placed on the deep waste repository and the prolonged hiatus betweenthe Vanguard class submarine program and the Astute class Submarines in thedefense sector.
Over this period of time the industry has fragmented with the tier 1 providersoutsourcing much of their capability and reducing their core business torelatively small enterprises. This has led to a growth in small and medium sizeenterprises providing manpower substitution and specialist services to the tier1 providers. The current status of the supply base led to government concernsthat the indigenous UK capability would not be sustainable without significantinvestment.
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