When I completed my PhD in radiochemistry, I worked for a number of years in the field of radiation detection for security applications. I then moved away from science and worked in various safety, security and nuclear policy roles within Government. I then decided that I wanted to move back into a technical role and applied to be an Inspector in ONR Transport. I was accepted into the Transport Permissioning sub-programme by the equivalence route. That means that, although I didn't have direct experience of working in the subject area, I have the technical and other skills to gain this experience. To demonstrate my equivalence I will have to put together a portfolio that demonstrates that I have the knowledge of the area. I can apply for my warrant at the same time. I am currently enjoying learning about this new area and am motivated by the wide range of opportunities that ONR offers in the longer term.
I decided that I wanted to be a part of the nuclear industry while I was still at university. The UK was facing a future energy gap, with a nuclear renaissance postulated to fill it. I saw it as a very exciting time to join the industry, while also offering a career which would serve a real purpose. On completing my PhD in chemistry, I applied and was successful in joining the nucleargraduates scheme. The scheme comprised of a mix of secondments around the nuclear industry, alongside academic and professional training over two years. I enjoyed a wide variety of experiences as a result in these secondments, working in project management, consultancy and regulation. My secondments were quite varied as I was looking to find somewhere I would want to return to on completion of the scheme, and thus begin my career as a young professional in the resurging UK nuclear industry. After finishing the graduate scheme I decided that I wanted to join the ONR, having greatly enjoyed my time on secondment there and gained an insight to the work it does. I believe that the ONR is the best place to influence the number one priority in the nuclear industry, safety, while also offering a fantastic variety of work and job satisfaction. Having joined as a nuclear associate, I support specialist inspectors in their inspections and assessments. The role also provides a fantastic potential for career progression toward becoming a specialist inspector myself.
Since graduating with a Masters in Physics five years ago I have worked in many exciting areas of the UK nuclear industry, both in the civil and defence sectors. The dynamic nature of the industry has enabled me to experience and achieve so much in a relatively short period of time, which in turn has resulted in my career progressing very quickly.
Working as a Nuclear Safety Inspector is varied, challenging and rewarding. I am able to use the technical skills, knowledge and experience that I have gained to date and apply these to situations and opportunities all around the country. Nuclear regulation is critical to the industry and protection of society, and as an Inspector I can influence safety. I truly feel that every day I come to work I am making a difference.
I have had some great opportunities since I began working in the nuclear industry, and I am certain there are many more to come!
The Office for Nuclear Regulation is sponsoring me through a graduate scheme called nucleargraduates. This scheme will give me a great depth of experience of the nuclear industry by providing the opportunity to complete three secondments at different organisations over a period of two years. Alongside these secondments, there are numerous training and development opportunities including training zones, professional courses and STEM engagement. Working with ONR has given me an unrivalled view of the nuclear industry, allowing me to work with experts in my field and develop my commercial and technical skills. I graduated university with a physics degree and entered the nuclear security specialism of ONR, showing that there is a wide variety of options available to anyone wishing to join the nuclear industry.