Young Generation’s role in shaping a roadmap for human resources development
The International Conference on Human Resource Development for Introducing and Expanding Nuclear Power Programmes took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE, from 14 -18 March 2010. The conference was organised by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in cooperation with relevant international nuclear institutions and was hosted by the Government of United Arab Emirates.
Development of human resources is high on the agenda and is relevant for all nuclear stakeholders, both for nuclear newcomers and also countries that have decided to expand their existing nuclear energy programme.
Today this is recognised on a European level, and lots of activities have already taken place. One approach is the European Commission’s ENEF initiative. On the other hand, the nuclear industry itself is more and more focused on the importance of education, in-house training, as well as establishing and supporting educational programmes (e.g. ENEN, ENELA etc).
More than 300 participants from all over the world came to present their vision and strategies for human resources development and to discuss under one roof. The conference included keynote speakers’ presentations followed by interactive presentations from other participants.
In a video message, IAEA Director General, Yukiya Amano, said: “I am grateful to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for hosting this important event. The world is witnessing a resurgence of interest in the nuclear power and we at the IAEA want to do all we can to help member states address the issue of human resource development.”
Opening Plenary of the IAEA conference in Abu Dhabi, 14 - 18 March 2010
The conference began with welcoming and introductory remarks from the Government of the UAE and the IAEA Deputy Director General for Nuclear Energy on the importance and timeliness for such a meeting in light of the large number of countries that have officially expressed interest in pursuing a peaceful and transparent nuclear power programme (including the recent announcement of a partner for one such newcomer country (the UAE). The keynote speakers then provided their insight into the current status and challenges of HR for the nuclear industry and how they see the role of the key stakeholders – government, industry and academia – in providing the necessary support for developing and maintaining the human resources needed for the safe and sustainable introduction and expansion of nuclear power programmes, and the need for a global effort in this regard. The presentations addressed the key objectives of the conference, thereby setting the stage for the subsequent presentations to delegates.
The Young Generation was invited to take a lead in the session entitled: Making the nuclear field attractive to the next generation and, on behalf of ENS YGN, I had a great opportunity to co-chair and make a keynote speech. So too did my colleague Leah Spradley of the USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The speakers in this session came from the generation that will provide future leadership in the field of nuclear power. We provided our views on the challenges and opportunities that the nuclear sector will encounter to make itself attractive to future generations - both future employees and those who will be key stakeholders such as teachers and faculties in higher education institutes, government decision-makers and the leaders in local communities close to nuclear facilities.
In my presentation the main HR challenges and opportunities were emphasised from four different perspectives:
youngsters working in academia and educational/research institutes
university, research and training institutes themselves
young professionals working in the industry
For interested readers all speakers’ presentations are available at the IAEA website at:
Dr. Igor Vuković, University of Zagreb – FER, Croatia
ENS Programme Committee member and ENS YGN Past Chairman