For the last six months I have been seconded to the NIA as part of the nucleargraduate scheme, and now my time is now up.
The NIA does things differently to industry, I remember thinking when I was given my first piece of work – you want this back today!?! First days in a new office are always exciting but on mine, Keith Parker took me to watch the Energy Minister, Andrea Leadsom, speak to a small gathering of nuclear energy supporters. Not your average day in the office I was used to.
Six months in London has been great, and was something I always wanted to do. But now the tube has less of its iconic appeal – I guess being stuffed into a confined space quickly loses its charm.
For a small office the NIA is always buzzing with members, Government folk and other people coming and going. Except for Friday afternoons when the rest of the industry has gone home (one of the downsides of the London lifestyle is clocking off at 5pm on Friday). But for a little organisation they get a lot done, so there has always been something to do.
The placement has given me a unique view of the industry, how it communicates and interacts. I’ve enjoyed representing the NIA at a number of events especially the Big Bang Fair where I spoke myself hoarse talking to children about nuclear power. It has also been a great pleasure meeting the members of the NIA and learning how we all fit into the nuclear jigsaw.
Learning about Government and getting involved in public affairs work has been eye opening for a politics wonk like me. Although I maybe ill-suited to it in the long run because of my rather ardent opinions which I find hard supressing.
As an engineer this placement has been a steep learning curve. I’ve gained a much better understanding of the subtleties of communication which I think I will benefit from in my future career. The NIA has some very high standards but I’ve been helped to achieve them through support from people in the office, especially Sara Crane and Rupert Lewis.
All of the team have been very welcoming and I very quickly felt at home. Everyone has always been ready and willing to help when I’ve asked. Each day has been different and at the NIA you have to get stuck into absolutely everything.
This opportunity is testament to the nuclear industry’s commitment to career development. I don’t think there are many other industries where so early on you can gain from many amazing experiences.
But alas the march of time goes on and I’m off, first and most importantly on holiday, then to another placement which will hopefully be as enlightening, challenging and entertaining as my time at the NIA.