On 7 and 8 March 2023, five Year 13 students studying A Levels in STEM subjects were invited by Rolls Royce to Birmingham to attend the NEA International Mentoring Workshop in Science, Engineering and Decommissioning supporting Britain’s Future Female Nuclear Leaders. The event was co-organised by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and brought together representatives from across the world to speak about their careers and the pathways that they followed. These guests included William D Magwood IV who is the Director-General of the NEA, appointed by the President of the USA. We also listened to a talk from Helen Langevin-Joliot, a distinguished nuclear physicist and granddaughter of Marie and Pierre Curie. She spoke about how she has encouraged young woman to pursue scientific careers, using her mother and grandmother as prime examples of women who overcame challenges to succeed in their professional careers.
The students listened to presentations from each of the mentors who were from various companies, including Frazer- Nash Consultancy, the Nuclear Energy Agency in the USA, the Environnment Agency and the National Nuclear Laboratory in the UK as well as speakers from France, Romania and Germany.
The mentors and students were invited to network in small groups allowing them to ask questions and gain a further insight into their career progression, often beginning in very different fields of industry.
On the second day the students listened to a lecture from Beccy Pleasant, Head of Nuclear Skills and Rutendo Madhlanbudzi, Project Manager, both from the Nuclear Skills Strategy Group. The students prepared and presented their views and findings from the two day programme to the speakers and mentors.
The event was the first of its kind and gave a powerful message to the female students about resilience and determination whilst reinforcing the message that their careers may change on several occasions until they reach their goals. Ellie (Year 13) said, ” It was enlightening to see the industry from a female perspective.”