Catherine Hedger CSci MNucl


Career to date

  • Nuclear Institute Trustee (2023-present) 
  • Rolls Royce
    (2009 - current)
    - Operations Engineer
    - Integration Engineer
    - Safety Engineer
  • Golder Associates

Catherine Hedger CSci MNucl

Catherine Hedger, Integrated Project Team Leader within the Core Design and Manufacture business of Rolls Royce, has a very clear view on what it means to be a nuclear professional and member of the Nuclear Institute. For Catherine, nuclear professionalism is all about nuclear safety and security, embodied in the Nuclear Delta®.

 “From the earliest days of my career at Golder Associates, working on site at Sellafield and other nuclear licensed sites,” she says, “I was made aware of the Nuclear Delta and the importance of safety within a nuclear context.” Catherine achieved her professional member status with the Nuclear Institute in 2012. She is also a Chartered Scientist, which she likewise gained through the Nuclear Institute.  Achieving both of these was important to her as recognition of professionalism and technical validation within the industry. She recalls that the assessment process for membership at the Nuclear Institute was a very positive and enjoyable experience.

“It [the Assessment Panel] allowed me to draw on both my environmental background in contaminated land investigations, as well as my experience as a Safety Engineer. It was clear to me that the Nuclear Institute membership route was the best fit for my career.”

 Route into nuclear
Catherine graduated with an MSci in Geology from the University of Birmingham and commenced her career with environmental consultants, Golder Associates. Golder provided her induction into the high standards of nuclear and safety culture. When she joined Rolls-Royce several years later she did so as a Safety Engineer, working in that role for five years within the Safety Team writing Nuclear Reactor Plant safety case documents, before joining the Integration Team.

Following a period of maternity leave, she then joined the Operations Team where she achieved Senior Engineer. Catherine says  the diverse work she’s been involved in has been invaluable in giving her an understanding of the whole reactor plant and its interfaces and has been able to use this knowledge to help trial an Operator Lite training package for the Submarine Maneuvering Room simulator.

 Nuclear professionalism
Achieving professional status was a key part of career progression for Catherine and she has embraced each opportunity to do this, whether through professional membership or training.  She also values the other attributes of professionalism, including her participation as a Volunteer on the Nuclear Institute Membership Committee. She likes interaction with colleagues in other parts of the industry and also being part of the professional membership assessment panels. The bi-annual Volunteer day (VForum) she was part of was also, “a great way to observe and learn how people approach a problem, and get different perspectives to that of my engineering viewpoint…it was great.”

Professional recognition is fundamental to the development of engineers & scientists in the nuclear industry; it demonstrates to our customers that we employ the best in our field.  In Rolls-Royce, as with many organisations, our career development structure requires Chartered status and membership of a professional institution to enable progression into higher grades and the Company reimburses the cost of application fees and annual subscriptions. 

The future
Catherine has been on secondment in her current role for two months leading the team on the ‘core barrel’ and “loves it!” She aspires eventually to a bigger project or technical leadership role and is confident that she can do this within Rolls-Royce, which has provided so many interesting and challenging roles to date. 

Catherine has a clear drive and is attuned to the need to take opportunities when they arise.“You have to be something of a career opportunist. I feel it’s important to try something new to develop, but to do this you need to take control of your career and seek opportunities.”