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Celebrating UK Skills for Nuclear – Cogent Skills

Celebrating UK Skills for Nuclear

The 13th UK Nuclear Skills Awards organised by NSAN and Cogent Skills took a very different format this year! Held online for the first time, the event brought together people from across the industry to celebrate the success and achievement of individuals and companies nominated for awards.

The main supporter for the evening was the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The NDA’s Director of UK Waste Operations, Corhyn Parr, officially welcomed representatives from industry, government, and training providers to the Skills Awards.

The top award of the evening was the UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year. This award was won by Katie Wightman from Sellafield Ltd. The UK Nuclear Apprentice of the Year is selected from all the apprentice category winners. Katie completed a Nuclear Operator Apprenticeship and works as a nuclear operator. This award category was supported by Westinghouse.

Katie also won the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year, which was supported by Nuvia Ltd.

The runner up in the Intermediate Apprentice of the Year was Olivia Winter from Responsive Ltd.

Taking the title of Advanced Apprentice of the Year was Kane Porter from Westinghouse Springfields. Kane completed a Mechanical Apprenticeship and works as a mechanical fitter. This award was supported by the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG).

The runners up in the Advanced Apprentice of the Year category were Amy-Leigh Cook from Nuvia UK Ltd and Taylor Birch from BAE Systems Submarines.


Taking the title of Higher & Degree Apprentice of the Year was Sally Parker from Capula Ltd. Sally completed a Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship and works as a Junior Engineer. This award was supported by Ultra.

The runners up for the Higher & Degree Apprentice of the Year category were Elizabeth Sunderland from the National Nuclear Laboratory and Rachel Hughes from Nuvia UK Ltd.



The STEM Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Rebecca Ballantyne who works as a business change manager at Sellafield Ltd. This award was supported by the National Nuclear Laboratory.

The runners up in the STEM Ambassador of the Year were Rebecca Fitch from Optima SC Ltd and Matthew Graham from BAE Systems Submarines.


The evening then moved into three new company award categories for the 2021 event.

The award for Best Employer and Provider Collaboration, supported by Jacobs UK Ltd, was won by the collaboration between BAE Systems Submarines, Blackpool & The Fylde College – Lancashire Energy HQ, Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Ltd, and the Office for Nuclear Regulation for the development of the Nuclear Degree Apprenticeship.

The runners up in the Best Collaboration category were the Project Academy, a collaboration between Sellafield Ltd and the University of Cumbria, and the Magnox Ltd Apprenticeship Recruitment by Magnox Ltd and Bridgwater College/National College for Nuclear.

The award for Outstanding Contribution to Equality Diversity and Inclusion, supported by Radioactive Waste Management, was awarded to Magnox Ltd. Accepting the award on behalf of the company was Vikki Tatnell, HR Specialist – ED&I and Mental Health.

The runners up in the Outstanding Contribution to ED&I as a company were the National Nuclear Laboratory and Sellafield Ltd.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, companies across the nuclear sector have shown a great ability to be dynamic and innovative, despite unprecedented constraints and restrictions. A special Community Award, supported by NSAN and voted for by the public, was held to highlight the inspirational work undertaken by companies who offered their time, expertise, and resources to support their local communities throughout the pandemic.

The winner of the Community Award – Response to Covid-19 was Dounreay Sites Restoration Ltd. The award, given in recognition of the efforts undertaken site-wide, was accepted by their Managing Director, Mark Rouse.

The other finalists in this category were: Lindhurst Engineering Ltd, Magnox Ltd, NG Bailey Group Ltd and Sellafield Ltd.

Justine Fosh, CEO of Cogent Skills said:
“Now in their 13th Year, these fantastic Nuclear Skills Awards are once again shining a light on the UK nuclear sector’s talent. I am so delighted to congratulate both the winners and the finalists.

These Awards continue to show the commitment the nuclear industry has to investing in workforce skills and developing people. All the nominees and winners are a real credit to the sector, and we wish them continued success in their careers and in acting as such fantastic role models to others in the sector.”

Corhyn Parr, Director of Integrated Waste from the Main Supporter NDA said:
“The NDA is proud to support the UK Nuclear Skills Awards, an event which shows the huge talent we have across the industry, and I would like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners.

Our work demands innovative solutions and that is why we constantly strive to attract and maintain a talented workforce. It is essential we provide a ladder of opportunity for people to help us realise our ambitions and aspirations for the future by ensuring we have the right skills to help take forward our decommissioning mission.”

Jo Tipa, Managing Director of NSAN said:
“The UK Nuclear Skills Awards highlight the exceptional quality of people of all levels, who are committed to careers in the nuclear sector. The evening also shines a light on the vital work done by companies and training and education professionals working in and with the nuclear industry across the UK.

I would like to personally congratulate all the winners and finalists; they are all inspirational examples of the talent that exists in our sector. I wish them all the very best for the future.”

For more information and to view videos from the evening – click here