Fleur, Safety Assessment Specialist

How long have you worked at AWE?
19 months

Why did you choose AWE?- what attracted you?            
AWE’s mission is unique, and the range of challenges and opportunities attracted me to the organisation. When I arrived, I expected a knowledgeable environment that encourages innovation, and it did not disappoint! I didn’t realise the sheer level of expertise that was in the business, as we have many world class subject matter experts and it is a real honour to work alongside them.

Engineering has always been interesting to me as I am creative but logical- two skills that are key for engineers to find innovative solutions to everyday issues. The number of routes you can take within engineering was also a selling point to me as I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

Tell us about your time at AWE?- What do you do?
I have worked in a range of operational and capital project areas. Each placement has been around six months long and has offered me a broader knowledge of the business. I have also done a part-time placement within process safety – an area of interest for me when I studied at university.

Typically, my day will be made up of meetings (to discuss project progress, review performance of areas and review any documents I have written) and writing and reviewing safety documents. Depending on the area I am working in, I may also speak to operators to gain familiarity with the facility.

I routinely attend a range of training, for technical work and soft skills as part of the wider graduate programme.

What’s the best thing about working in the Engineering industry?
The best part of working in the engineering industry is the sheer number of opportunities out there. There are so many unique challenges across industries that there is always something new to explore and learn about.

What made you decided to opt for a career in Engineering?       
I have always enjoyed science and maths and found engineering to be the perfect blend of the two, whilst giving me the opportunity to be creative and innovative. Engineering is not something that I had much experience of prior to university, but I knew my logical mind and desire to be constantly challenged by my work was something that a career in engineering could deliver.

Who inspired you to have a career in Engineering?
My father was a senior construction manager and prior to that a site manager. He completed further education throughout his career.

During his career I was lucky enough to have tours of some of the facilities he worked on and was fascinated by the work he did. When visiting the sites, he worked at, I could see how much engineering has progressed and was inspired to make myself a part of it.

How do you see your career progressing?           
During a recent placement, I found my passion for safety which led me to apply for safety based graduate roles. In my current role, I am focused on nuclear safety, which has allowed me to gain a greater insight into the subject matter. I hope to continue to develop my knowledge and experience within this area and eventually work in a  management role where I can use my experience to support and teach future graduates.

Why are events such as INWED so important?
INWED is so important as it gives us an opportunity to celebrate our successes as well as encourage and inspire more women to be part of the change that engineering is having on society.

What can we do to encourage more females into Engineering?
We need to redefine how people think of engineering. Often people think of engineers as someone who does physical labour. Breaking down the stereotype that engineering is physical job, can encourage more to join the industry. Engineering doesn’t just focus on building things, it’s also about  the design, use and decommissioning of engines, machines and structures, with problem solving at the heart of it all. More needs to be done to identify and guide those, with a logical mind who are keen for challenges and problem solving, into the industry.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a career in Engineering?            
There are so many different types of engineering, so don’t rule it out because one type isn’t for you. Initially I considered mechanical engineering, but then realised I’m not interested in engines, instead I researched the different disciplines to find one to meet my interests and strengths.