Location: Sellafield, Cumbria

What is Commissioning and Pre-Operations?

Commissioning and Pre-Operations are the processes by which People, Plants and Procedures are brought into an operational state; Or in the Sellafield context: is the process of demonstrating that all systems and components of a building or industrial plant are designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained according to the operational requirements of the plant owner and within the safety constraints of the relevant regulatory body

As a Commissioning and Pre-Operations Engineering Degree Apprentice you will gain vast experience in relation to the delivery of projects on Sellafield Site. This scheme will have you undertaking a higher-level qualification (Foundation Degree) with a vision to progress on to a Bachelor of Engineering whilst also placing you on the site to gain experience in project delivery that spans design, construction, commissioning, pre-operations and pseudo-operations.

You will learn how differing types of projects are delivered across the Sellafield site. Upon completion of the scheme, you will have gained the necessary qualifications and experience to act as an engineer on the site tasked with the delivery of projects to extend the life of already operational facilities as well as delivery of major projects planned to transform the sites landscape and provide solutions to the UK’s nuclear legacy.

Our work at Sellafield Ltd includes supporting circa £6Bn of projects and involves: –

  • Providing learning and application of industry best practise into the design process to produce a solution that is both operable & maintainable.
  • Setting to work physical plant and equipment inclusive of functional performance and nuclear safety testing (commissioning) to ensure the project fulfils the requirements of the functional specification.
  • Delivery of all pre-operations activities to allow the project to be handed over to operations (inclusive of engineering & maintenance) so that the identified professions can operate the plant as required.

What will I be doing?

The scheme, branched into two aspects will have the individual undertake a Foundation Degree with the aim to advance onto a Bachelor of Engineering. Whilst undertaking this qualification you will be employed on the site to assist in the delivery of projects to allow you to gain the relevant experience to complete your apprenticeship. The commissioning profession will assess each individual and place them in the “best fit” project to gain experience of project delivery as a whole which includes the design process, testing and setting to work, preparations of operations and pseudo-operations to prove the projects performance. As part of the Commissioning and Pre-operations Team you will:

  • Learn the project delivery lifecycle, project management tools and processes used to ensure projects are ensure works are delivered, safely, on time, to design intent, and to budget.
  • Understand and gain experience of the design process, from concept through to detail, the industry practices used and the requirements to remain compliant with engineering standards.
  • Gain experience to allow you to propose testing activities and then undertake these on plants and equipment to demonstrate correct function.
  • Undertake the requirements of Pre-operations to deliver People, Plant & Processes are in place at the point of hand over, this spans a vast number of deliverables and includes aspects such as the creation of training, the identification of engineering and maintenance activities and the creation of nuclear safety cases.
  • Honing your practical engineering skills whilst working within a multi discipline team, collaboratively with the supply chain, to deliver to the programme.

Where will my training be delivered?

You will undertake a 3-month induction programme based at our local off-site training facility.

Work placements will be based on either the Sellafield site or one of our various satellite offices. Academic Learning will take place 1 day a week at our training providers off-site training facility. In addition, some pathways will undertake a Practical Engineering Operations at our local off-site training facility.

What qualifications will I obtain?

The Degree Apprentice Programme consists of 2 phases;

  • Level 5 ST0380 Nuclear Technician Apprenticeship
  • Level 5 Foundation Degree/ Higher National Diploma (HND) in Engineering or Science aligned to your chosen pathway

For candidates with the potential to progress further:

  • Level 6 ST0289 Nuclear Scientist and Nuclear Engineer Apprenticeship
  • Level 6 Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering (BEng) or Science (BSc) aligned to your chosen pathway, over a further 2-year period.

*Specific qualifications are subject to change and replaced with an equivalent.

What are the entry requirements?

Our degree apprenticeships are aimed at those studying for A-Levels or equivalent. The entry requirements for our degree apprenticeship schemes are:

  • Minimum of 5 GCSEs at Grades 9 to 4 (Grades A* to C) including Mathematics, English Language and one Science or Engineering subject.
  • Minimum of 96 UCAS points at A-Level / T-Level, STEM subjects preferred (e.g. Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Physics or Science) but not mandatory.
  • Other Level 3 STEM qualifications may be considered.
  • Vocational equivalents at level 3 or higher will also be considered as equivalent to UCAS points.
  • If you do not have Mathematics at A Level then you must achieve a minimum of Grade 6 (Grade B) at GCSE.
  • Functional Skills Level 2 will also be considered as equivalent to GCSE Grade 4 (Grade C). Other equivalent qualifications may be considered.

Additional Requirements

  • Candidates will be required to achieve appropriate security and medical clearances; these will be instigated on receiving a conditional offer of employment.


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