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Director of People & Culture

UKAEA - United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority
Abingdon Rd, Culham, UK
£95,000 - £110,000 + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
Closing date
14 Jul 2024

View more

Utilities / Energy
Contract Type
Full Time
HR Jobs Level
Director / Head / VP
Specialist Area
General HR Function
CIPD Membership
CIPD Member, Non CIPD member

Job Details

Director of People & Culture

Abingdon Rd, Culham, UK
Salary: £95,000 - £110,000 + excellent benefits including outstanding pension
Division: People Division
Site Location: UKAEA Culham, Oxfordshire
Confirmed Grade: Level 8
Department: People & Culture

Company Description

By 2050, the planet could be using twice as much electricity compared to today. Are you interested in contributing and helping to shape the future of the world’s energy? If so, read on.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun and Stars, is one of the most promising options for generating the cleaner, carbon-free energy that our world badly needs.

UKAEA leads the way in realising fusion energy, partnering with industry and research for groundbreaking advancements. Our goal is to bring fusion electricity to the grid, supported by tomorrow's power stations. In pursuit of our mission, UKAEA embraces core values: Innovative, Committed, Trusted, and Collaborative.

As an employee of UKAEA you will benefit from:

- Outstanding defined benefit pension scheme, details of which can be found at the end of this advert.
- Corporate bonus scheme up to 15% and a Relocation allowance (if eligible).
- Flexible working options including family friendly policies and the right to request flexible working from the start of your employment.
- Employee Assistance Programme and trained Mental Health First Aiders.
- Generous annual leave allowance starting with 25 days, plus 3 days Christmas closure and 2.5 privilege days, in addition to UK bank holidays.
- Wide range of career development opportunities.
- A vibrant culture committed to equality and being fully inclusive.

The salary for this role is £95,000 - £110,000.

Job Description

Please submit a cover letter as part of your application.

This role can be based at the following site; Culham, Oxfordshire.

This role requires employees to complete an online Baseline Personnel Security Standard (BPSS), including The Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checks for criminal convictions.

The Role

Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to make a difference? Join our team and contribute to the future of fusion energy. As Director of People & Culture, you will play a pivotal role in shaping UKAEA’s strategic goals and providing vision and inspiration on a range of organisational initiatives. You will lead the People and Culture function, ensuring it is agile and digitally enabled, whilst fostering a culture of end user ‘personal ownership’.

Additional Responsibilities:

- Act as the CEO’s principal advisor on people, organisational, cultural and policy matters.
- Lead transformational change in People and Culture, ensuring it is fit for purpose, digitally enabled, and agile.
- Support the generation of UK Industrial Fusion Solutions (UKIFS), a separate legal and fiducial entity that will operate as part of UKAEA Group.
- As a member of the Executive Committee (ExCo), partner with executive leaders to identify future organisational changes and develop strategies to support them.
- Attend UKAEA Board meetings to advise on people issues, organisational design, and change management.
- Work with the Head of Pay and Reward to implement a new pay and reward framework.
- Lead on the management of complex organisational structural and cultural change.
- Deliver strategic workforce planning to build UKAEA’s capability to deliver Fusion.
- Review and update the People Strategy to meet UKAEA's evolving needs.
- Lead a positive culture of employee relations and engagement.
- Champion an EDI strategy, ensuring UKAEA becomes an inclusive and diverse organisation.


Essential Requirements:

- Chartered Fellow/fully qualified member of CIPD or equivalent relevant professional qualification.
- Proven experience in directing transformational change at the executive level.
- Strong influencing and stakeholder management skills.
- Commercial awareness and experience managing outsourced people services.
- Strong operational delivery focus.
- In-depth knowledge of employment law and employee relations.
- Demonstrated emotional intelligence and successful people management experience.

Additional Information

For a full list of benefits and to apply, select the apply button to be taken through to the UKAEA careers pages.

We welcome applications from under-represented groups, particularly individuals from black and other ethnic minority backgrounds, people with disabilities, and women. Our Executive team, supported by our 'Equality, Diversity and Inclusion' (EDI) Partner and Inclusion Ambassadors, actively promotes EDI and takes steps to increase diversity within our organization. We reinforce best practices in recruitment and selection and evaluate approaches to remove barriers to success.

Please note that vacancies are generally advertised for 4 weeks but may close earlier if we receive a large number of applications.


Mission & goals

UKAEA’s mission is to lead the delivery of sustainable fusion energy and maximise the scientific and economic benefit.

The five interconnected strategic goals to deliver on this mission are:

  • Solve challenges of sustainable fusion energy - from design through to decommissioning - with world-leading science and engineering.

  • Enable partners to design, deliver, and operate commercial fusion power plants.

  • Drive UK economic growth and a thriving industry that exports fusion technology around the world.

  • Create clusters that accelerate innovation in fusion and related technologies.

  • Develop the talented, diverse people needed to deliver fusion energy.

Fusion, the process that powers the Sun, can play a big part in our low-carbon energy future. UKAEA manages the UK fusion programme. Our scientists and engineers are working with partners around the globe to develop fusion as a new source of sustainable energy for tomorrow’s power stations. UKAEA’s research can be accessed at the UKAEA Scientific Publications site.

Our activities

UKAEA has hosted the JET (Joint European Torus) facility at Culham since its design started in 1973. First operation was in 1983 and since then it has set world records for fusion performance. JET is normally run and
funded as a joint facility with EUROfusion. As the UK is not currently associated to Euratom (and by extension EUROfusion) EUROfusion is not currently funding JET. As a result, UKAEA has continued to fund full JET running costs to maintain the world class science done at this facility. The MAST Upgrade facility, also based at Culham, is leading the world in research into compact fusion devices.

New facilities linked to our fusion research are now operational at Culham and at a fusion technology centre near Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

  • Materials Research Facility (MRF), is a new UK facility for micro-characterisation of materials now open to university and industry users. It is part of the National Nuclear User Facility initiative.

  • Remote Applications in Challenging Environments facility (RACE) is conducting R&D and commercial activities in the field of Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

  • Fusion Technology Facilities at Culham and Rotherham are sparking the solutions to key challenges in developing fusion power plants.

  • The Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) centre is researching fuel technology for fusion power; in particular, tritium - one of the two main fuels needed for commercial fusion.

  • Oxfordshire Advanced Skills (OAS) is a training centre enabling Oxfordshire business to offer young people hi-tech and engineering apprenticeships of the highest quality.

Building on this broad and extensive fusion research and technology programme, UKAEA is now embarking on the design of a UK fusion power station - the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production, known as STEP. An initial concept design phase for STEP has started, with the ultimate aim of producing net electricity from fusion around 2040.

In addition, we are responsible for several pension schemes, and own land at the Harwell Campus and Culham Science Centre sites in Oxfordshire, and are committed to further develop these thriving science, technology and business parks.

History of the UK Atomic Energy Authority Early Years

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) was formed in 1954 when the British Government set up a new body to oversee the nation’s nuclear research programme. The role was to provide Britain’s atomic weapons deterrent and develop reactor technologies for the nuclear power stations of the future.

Early achievements included the opening of the world’s first full-scale nuclear power station at Calder Hall - which led to the construction of ten further Magnox stations - and the Dounreay Fast Reactor, which went critical in 1959.

UKAEA was also exploring the potential of fusion energy, and opened a purpose-built fusion laboratory at Culham in 1960.


From 1965, UKAEA branched out into commercial and non-nuclear activities to take advantage of spin-off potential from nuclear technology. The atomic research programme also continued, with UKAEA leading plans for new reactor types including advanced gas-cooled reactors and fast reactors.

A reorganisation of the UK’s civil nuclear industry in the early 1970s saw changes to UKAEA’s structure and role. The transfer of responsibilities in weapons research, fuel production, isotope production and radiological protection to other organisations allowed us to focus on our research mission.

Commercial activities continued to grow across the sites, with Harwell alone generating £50 million per year from over 1,200 contracts by 1985. They covered a diverse range of areas, from space tribology to petroleum services and reactor safety testing. AEA Technology was formed in 1989 to act as the UKAEA’s commercial arm, and was eventually privatised in 1996

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