For the nuclear industry, the challenge of massive recruitment with a view to reviving the sector

For the nuclear industry, the challenge of massive recruitment with a view to reviving the sector

Despite the strike and the site occupations, the University of Nuclear Professions has maintained its appointment. From Monday March 6 to Friday March 10, despite the strong mobilization of employees against the pension reform, this industrial alliance is organizing the first edition of the Week of Nuclear Jobs. Visits, testimonials from employees, networking with companies: some two hundred events are planned across France, in collaboration with Pôle emploi.

This sector is in great need of recruiting. And therefore, beforehand, to reinforce its attractiveness. Especially after bad news, in the still near past. Fukushima and the nuclear accident, following a tsunami, in 2011, in Japan. But also, on a completely different note, Fessenheim (Haut-Rhin) and the closure of this Alsatian power station, in 2020, by political decision of the government.

Since then, the industrial outlook has changed in the country, as has the need for training and employment. This same government promised, in February 2022, the construction of at least six new reactors. “The main concern is not so much to create training offers as to make known those already existing from CAP to bac +5”underlines Hélène Badia, president of this “university” launched in 2021, and also an employee of EDF, the operator of the nuclear fleet French.

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Emmanuelle Galichet, lecturer at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts, observes a trend reversal: “For the current year, twenty-seven first-year students are following my nuclear engineering training, compared to twenty-five in the second year, and… eleven in the third year. » With a new argument heard, compared to previous decades: as low-carbon electricity, nuclear contributes to the fight against global warming.

Technicians or engineers, each profession has its time frame

The positions to be filled promise to be numerous, between the major refit of the fifty-six existing reactors and the prospect of construction sites announced by the government. Enough to recruit between 10,000 and 15,000 people each year, by the end of the 2020s. A promise of massive renewal for the sector.

This encompasses some 220,000 direct and indirect jobs, according to its 2019 census – nearly 7% of industrial employment in France. Making it “the third French industrial sector”, according to the ministry in charge of industry. Managers and technicians account for four-fifths of the workforce, which are mostly male, as in industry in general. Each profession has its time frame. In the immediate future, the large fairing and the maintenance of the current fleet require technicians; in 2022, it was necessary to call in North American welders as reinforcements.

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