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David Jury: Why I became an Assessor for the NI

I am a Principal Nuclear Safety Engineer, working for Wood for 11 years.  I have predominantly worked on producing operations and facility safety cases for Nuclear Licensed sites.

I joined the Nuclear Institute in 2012, registering as a Chartered Engineer parallel with becoming a professional member. The reason I joined the Nuclear Institute was due to wanting to be recognised as a Professional Engineer and Member within the Nuclear industry, this was a natural choice as it is the home for professionals in the nuclear industry.  

During my time as an NI member, and prior to this, I was part of the NI Young Generation Network, where I volunteered within several roles.

Initially, I volunteered as a STEM ambassador, attending careers fairs where I was able to discuss with students the challenging and interesting roles within engineering in the Nuclear Industry.  After becoming a member of the Nuclear Institute and Chartered Engineer I then volunteered to work as an assessing volunteer, assessing apprenticeship schemes across the nuclear industry to determine if they delivered the Engineering Council competencies and the Nuclear Delta.  This has been very valuable and enjoyable; visiting apprentice centres as part of a panel and meeting the training team, apprentices, workplace supervisors and touring the facilities.

As a Chartered Engineer, this has been very rewarding, as I came through the standard route of university/graduate role, this opened my eyes to other routes on becoming an engineer.

It also exposed me to steps of the fuel cycle which I do not generally come across in my day to day work. Finally, it introduced me to a team of dedicated assessing volunteers from diverse areas of the industry.

After a year or so working an assessing volunteer, I saw an advert in Nuclear Future and applied for a place on the NI membership Committee as a core member.  I applied for this as it was a good development opportunity to be part of a committee with a wide range of experienced members from across the industry, and I believe in the importance of professional membership and so was keen to support its growth.

Since joining the Membership Committee, the area I have found most rewarding is recognising how diverse each role is within the nuclear industry, and this makes a unique contribution to the nuclear delta.  When we assess each application against the Nuclear Delta we take into consideration the applicants role when making judgements on the areas of the nuclear delta which we expect that role to fulfil.  It is quite rare for a role to cover all aspects of the nuclear delta, so we encourage applicants to look at their role and understand which areas they fulfil, rather than perform a tick box exercise and try to demonstrate all areas of the delta. 

As an Engineer, I enjoy the diversity of membership applications for the Nuclear Industry, and the opportunity this gives me to see what other people do at work!

Assessing applications for registration with the Engineering Council is a more prescriptive affair, each applicant must fulfil the UK-Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC) as appropriate to the level they are applying for.  However, because the Nuclear Industry employs such a diverse range of Engineers from different fields and different sectors of the industry, members of the membership committee must have a broad understanding and be willing to seek advice from other members of the committee on their fields of expertise if required.  There are diverse routes to registration with the Engineering Council, the more familiar route to myself is the standard route which includes studying an accredited degree, followed by development of the engineering competencies ‘on the job’, and individual route applications for applicants who do not have the typical qualifications, but are able to demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills obtained over a number of years of working in the Nuclear Engineering field alongside other skilled colleagues.

I also enjoy feeling that I am playing a part in helping workers in the nuclear industry to achieve recognition as professional members of their industry professional institute.  Working with the other members of the committee is very interesting as there is a diverse range of backgrounds represented, which helps to provide insight into the applicants.  All of the members are enthusiastic and supportive, and I find it rewarding that assessing applications is not simply viewed as a pass or fail decision, the committee always try come up with constructive advice on areas to work on to improve an application which misses out and will help develop a plan to fill those gaps if the applicant wishes.