News & Insights

28.11.20

YGN Futuresight – Exciting the Next Generation, NSSG

It is the YGN's role, as part of the professional body for the nuclear sector, to look ahead, to envisage a better world and a future in which our members and our industry will flourish. A large part of this involves collaborating with industry to help shape the future of our sector.

The Nuclear Sector Deal (NSD) was published in June 2018 and is part of the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy. The Deal sets out the vision for growth of the nuclear industry in the UK with closer collaboration between the industry and Government and is based on five elements. The Nuclear Skills Strategy Group (NSSG), as the Nuclear Industry Skills lead, has been tasked with delivering the People element of the NSD.

The YGN’s mission is “to encourage, develop & inspire the UK’s early career nuclear professionals”. One way in which we strive to meet our mission is by working with the NSSG as a delivery partner for the People element of the NSD. In November 2019, the YGN supported the call for YGN Shadow Theme Leads to work with the existing theme owners at the NSSG and develop the delivery plan for each of the theme areas under People. It has been fantastic to see the Shadow Theme Leads getting involved in supporting the work of the NSSG. This has brought diversity of thought and challenge to the group and is a valuable opportunity for personal and professional development in a leadership role. We plan to develop our relationship with the Shadow Theme Leads to ensure that the outcomes of the NSSG workstreams reflect the YGN’s purpose, to ensure that our exciting industry makes inspiring opportunities accessible to young people

As part of the YGN Futuresight series, we asked the Shadow Theme Leads to tell us more about the exciting plans they have in place for delivering the NSD targets. In this article, Priya Hira, Commercial Graduate with the Nucleargraduates Scheme, shares with us future plans for her theme area: Exciting the Next Generation.

Introduction

Hello! My name is Priya, and I am currently on the 2-year Nuclear Commercial graduate scheme run by Nucleargraduates. The scheme allows me to carry out different secondments across the Nuclear Industry. I am currently on my second secondment working at Amentum, having previously been seconded to the NDA (Nuclear Decommissioning Authority).

My background and route to nuclear has definitely not been the most traditional.

I studied Mathematics and Business at University, and during my studies, ventured off to Germany.  Here I had the amazing opportunity to study at the Technical University of Munich, where I got my first real taste of nuclear through studying a Master’s Module titled ‘Introduction to Nuclear Engineering’. After I finished my studies I found a job at my University in International Business Development. During this time, I applied for the Nucleargraduates scheme as it looked enticing, different, and something I could really get my teeth stuck into!

Whilst in the Nuclear Industry, outside of the day-job, there are lots of other organisations or working groups you can get involved with - you just have to ask! With this inquisitive mindset, I have been able to get involved with ED&I (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Champions at the NDA, WiN (Women in Nuclear) and the NSSG (Nuclear Skills and Strategy Group).

How I got involved?

Whist attending the YGN’s annual seminar in November 2019, the last talk of the day was presented by the NSSG’s Nuclear Skills Lead, Beccy Pleasant. After listening to Beccy speak, I was intrigued to know what the NSSG did and wanted to find out more. The NSSG sounded like an organisation that had a lot of ambition and wanted to make real change to the next generation of nuclear professionals. As someone who did not know much about Nuclear before joining the industry, I thought this would be a great way to create some real positive change but to also learn about the other sides of the industry. From thereon in, I became a NSSG Shadow Theme Leader

Working as a Shadow Theme Lead is completely voluntary, but it’s a great opportunity that enables you to work with colleagues from across the industry, be that ONR, EDF, MOD, and the list goes on. In terms of exposure and learning, it is extremely useful, but most importantly, you can be involved in projects that are helping make positive change within the Nuclear Industry which will impact current employees of the sector as well as new people thinking of joining.

Update on Shadow Theme Lead Project

I am currently the Shadow Theme Lead of a project called Exciting the Next Generation. There are 5 of these projects in total running side-by-side, each tackling a different problem related to developing skills of the nuclear workforce within the industry with the aim of making some positive change.

Exciting the Next Generation (ETNG) is about encouraging the next generation to join the Nuclear Industry. There is a skills shortage within the Nuclear Industry and with the aging population, this will be a progressing problem. In order to effectively tackle this problem, we need to encourage the next generation to join the Nuclear Industry and keep the workforce effectively ‘alive’ and maintain the skills required to keep Nuclear going forward.

We are currently working on two projects, the first looking at how best we can utilise the upcoming T-levels for students looking to go into nuclear, and the second focused on creating a digital platform centred around all things nuclear.  

A T-level is a brand new qualification launched this September at selected colleges and schools; it is a two-year qualification which will include a 45-day industry placement to enable students to gain practical on-hands experience within the workplace. Due to the nature of the Nuclear Industry with the high security restrictions regarding personnel, it may be difficult for students to obtain or pursue a T-level and this is where the NSSG comes in. At the NSSG, we are looking at how we can best support students looking to do a T-level within the Nuclear Industry as well as employers looking to support students with these T-levels, and how they can make the most of this 45-day industry placement, even with the aforementioned restrictions. Using virtual reality applications is one of the ways we are looking at enabling students to get on site without physically having to step-foot into the workplace.

The digital platform is about creating a digital website/app to collate all things nuclear in one place. Currently, there is not one single website where all important information for the next generation looking to go into nuclear could be found, but instead there was information scattered across many websites, be that of National Institutions or employer’s websites. This proposed website would allow students, employers, parents and teachers to have access to this information, including topics such as, career and development opportunities, information on organisations in Nuclear, events and networking opportunities and keeping up-to-date with Nuclear Industry News, just to name a few.

In order to progress with these two projects, the NSSG carried out a Workshop back in March, now fondly looked back upon as the last physical meeting we have all had due to lockdown restrictions.

NSSG3

Workshop

The aim of this workshop was to gain insight from a large variety of individuals across industries that would help us progress with our own individual themes, here being Exciting the Next Generation. At the Workshop we had professionals from across the nuclear Industry such as EDF and Copeland Council, in addition to other industries such as Education where we had teachers and career advisors attend. This mix of attendees and diversity gave us great insight into how best to move our two projects forward and any considerations we should make and how we can make them a success.

As a Shadow Theme Leader, I co-led the event with my Theme-Lead, John Male and Richard McMeekin, and ended off the evening with the NSAN awards night.

NSSG4

Soon after the Workshop, we came together virtually to revisit the workshop notes and create a Project Delivery Plan from the insight gained. With this Project Delivery Plan now created, we are working towards achieving the milestones set in this Plan.

The success we aim to achieve is ambitious. Nevertheless, with our diverse and collaborative team, in conjunction with our overall aim to improve skills within the Nuclear Sector, these projects should be a success and have a positive impact on the future of the Nuclear Industry.

 NSSG5

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