Working for UKAEA

Careers at the UK Atomic Energy Authority and our health, safety and environment policy.


Do you want to help shape the future of the world’s energy? We are recruiting to a wide range of scientific, engineering and technical posts to enable us to meet the growing demands of our challenging European and UK fusion energy programmes.

We have professionally accredited training schemes for graduates and apprentices, and strong links with universities around the UK for PhD placements.

We can offer a wide range of employee benefits including excellent professional development and mentoring programmes, a final salary pension scheme, bonus scheme, flexible working, and relocation expenses.

You can find career opportunities and job vacancies at UKAEA on the UKAEA careers website.


Annual Leave

The Annual Leave entitlement for employees is 25 days (pro rata for part-time employees) rising to 28 days after five years of service and then to 30 days after ten years of service. In addition employees are entitled to 10.5 days holiday (including bank holidays and privilege days). Employees work a revised working week to cover the days that fall between Christmas and New Year when the site is closed. This means that no annual leave needs to be saved to cover these days. Employees are able to carry over up to ten days of annual leave to the next leave year, if they wish. There is also the opportunity to accrue time off in lieu of extra work carried out as overtime, instead of receiving a payment, subject to line manager’s discretion.


Employees of UKAEA are automatically enrolled into the UKAEA Combined Pension Scheme (CPS), which is a final salary defined benefit scheme. It includes the following benefits for members:

  • A pension and lump sum payment at Normal Pension Age of 60. The pension is based on final salary and calculated as: years’ service x pensionable final earnings x 1/80th. The lump sum is: 3 x the annual pension;
  • Options at retirement to convert lump sum into additional pension or to commute pension to additional lump sum;
  • Options for early retirement or partial retirement;
  • Death in service benefits including lump sum of 2 x pensionable final earnings and spouse and dependents pensions;
  • Spouse and dependents pensions on death after retirement;
  • Ill health benefits of payment of pension and lump sum with possible enhancement;
  • Additional Voluntary Contributions scheme.

Employee contributions qualify for tax relief and the UKAEA also contributes. Some benefits are reduced for service less than 2 years. Employees can opt out of the scheme. Further details of the scheme can be found at the following website: UKAEA pension scheme

Note: The CPS is expected to close for future accrual of benefits at some point in the future as part of the reform of all public sector pensions, and most UKAEA employees and all new employees will then be transferred to the Civil Servants and Others Pension Scheme (known as alpha) for future benefits. This is a Career Average Revalued Earnings (CARE) defined benefits scheme. It includes very similar benefits to the CPS, but the pension is built up each year based on 2.32% of salary and inflation each year. Further details of the alpha scheme can be found at the following website: alpha pension scheme

Benefits earned in the CPS at the date of the change to the alpha arrangement will be frozen and when paid will be based on service to the date of joining the alpha scheme and pensionable final earnings when the member leaves the alpha scheme or leave employment (whichever is earlier) i.e. the link to final salary for CPS benefits is maintained.

Bonus scheme

Employees are normally entitled to bonus payments depending on corporate performance in any given financial year. Milestones are set up in a way so that employees’ performance has influence on performance in a given area. Bonus payments are paid on an annual basis as a percentage of salary (maximum 7%).


New entrants who are required to move their home to take up a permanent appointment may, at line manager’s discretion, be given some assistance towards their removal expenses. This is subject to a ceiling of £8,000.

Flexible working

All roles are open to job sharing unless otherwise stated.

Part-time working

We are proud to promote working part-time to enable employees to maintain a healthy life-work balance. Depending on the business needs, this can range from shortened days to allow for ‘the school run’ to shortened weeks to fit with life style choices and most ports between.

Emergency Family Leave (Time off for dependants)

At discretion a member of staff can request time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. This leave is to allow employees to deal with unexpected or sudden problems and to make longer term arrangements as necessary. There is no qualifying period necessary for this leave and depending on circumstances some of the time off may qualify to be paid.

Maternity Leave

Where an employee qualifies for contractual maternity pay (at least one year’s effective service), she will receive her normal rate of pay during the 26 week ordinary maternity leave period.

Following this the first 13 weeks of additional maternity leave will be paid at the appropriate rate of SMP. The remaining 13 weeks of additional maternity leave will be unpaid.

Adoption leave and paternity leave schemes are also offered.

Wider benefits

Core values

We prides itself on being a great place to work and is committed to the continual development of our people. The core values are Pioneering, Excellence and Innovation and these are at the heart of the Management Development Programme which fosters development and in so doing grows our organisation to meet current and future needs.

There is a friendly and collaborative atmosphere at Culham. Ideas and results are openly shared meetings and there are opportunity to hear from external scientific speakers – both from the international fusion community and the wider scientific world.

Learning and development

We are committed to developing all members of staff by offering a wide range of programmes and support to suit their individual career aspiration. In engineering these range from an advanced apprenticeship scheme certified by IMechE and IET, and a graduate scheme also certified by IMechE and IET with IOP pending. We are similarly accredited for our Continuous Professional Development Schemes and are members of the IET Power Academy. In physics we offer PhD and MSc opportunities, and Culham fellowships. In addition to the structured development schemes we also provide individual development as needed by the business and career trajectories.

Mentoring scheme

To help support its staff through their careers and professional development, we have introduced a mentoring programme. Mentoring is a relationship in which one person, the mentor, helps another, the mentee, to discover more about themselves, their potential and capability. It can assist an individual by enabling them to seek guidance, support, help and feedback. The mentoring programme is a formal process which will be regularly reviewed and monitored. It recognises that individuals have different goals and aspirations and it endeavours to meet the individual’s requirements and needs as well as those of the organisation.

Athena Swan

We support the principles of Athena Swan and have been awarded the Bronze award. This is in recognition of the commitment we have made to advancing women’s careers in STEM areas.

Cycle to Work scheme

Cyclescheme provides employees with the opportunity to purchase a new bike through a salary sacrifice scheme. Employees are entitled to borrow up to £1,000 for a bike and accessories.

Parking facilities

Excellent parking facilities are available across the site. Parking spaces located close to offices and free of charge. The site is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Health and wellbeing

Research has shown that healthy and happy staff contribute more to their employer as well as the nation as a whole. As part of our health and wellbeing programme, we provide a range of free benefits helping to further improve your health and wellbeing. There is an on-site Occupational Health service. There is also an Employee Assistance Programme which is a welfare initiative, available to all staff, by telephone, giving support and counselling, covering a wide variety of subject areas, such as financial, personal, work-related and legal.

Eating and drinking

At Culham we have catering outlets such as shops, a sandwich bar and a restaurant offering a great range of food and drinks for staff to choose from throughout the day. The majority of the food is made in-house.

There is also a Costa Coffee outlet offering fresh coffee and cakes.

Social clubs and events

There is a social club (CSSA) which organises discounted theatre trips to various London theatres for its members, as well as supporting a wide range of clubs and societies. In addition CSSA organises a range of events on site such as Christmas parties for kids, bonfire nights and other events. This winter, colleagues have been challenged to a Winter Triathlon which includes a pub-style quiz, a skittles match and traditional Aunt Sally contest. Last year the senior management team issued a Softball Challenge, 23 teams of 10 players responded playing in a league and knockout stages. The final was played at a staff Fun Day where 1,100 employees, contractors and their families enjoyed a wide range of free events, music and a traditional hog roast.

Health, safety and environment

Good safety, health and environmental management is an integral part of the efficient management of UKAEA. The high standards of safety, health, and environmental protection needed to undertake world-class research at UKAEA are only achieved through the vigorous commitment of everyone, including top management, to continual improvement. Our goal is, therefore, to cause no harm to people, property or the environment.

In commitment to proper safety, health and environmental management, we will:

  • ensure compliance with all legal obligations and any other systems or standards UKAEA chooses to comply with;
  • require that all those who work for us to conform with the requirements of the UKAEA safety, health and environment management system;
  • provide healthy and safe workplaces with safe equipment and safe procedures of work;
  • commit to preventing pollution and the protection of the environment through responsible utilisation of resources, particularly in relation to energy usage and management of waste;
  • integrate safety, health and environmental considerations into all aspects of the organisation;
  • though the annual Assurance Improvement Programme set and annually review safety, health, and environmental objectives and targets to assess and improve safety, health and environmental performance and report that performance openly;
  • implement inherently safer and cleaner technologies, processes and procedures;
  • create a safe, healthy and environmentally responsible working culture;

This policy is implemented through the arrangements defined in the UKAEA Management Systems Manual and associated procedures, is communicated to all within the organisation and available to external interested parties. The policy will be reviewed annually and, where necessary, proposals made for its improvement.

Each individual employee within UKAEA is responsible for upholding this policy in their area of work and for taking action to maintain standards.