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Women in Nuclear Cumbria is launched

INS Transport Contract Manager, Sheena Taylor took part in the launch of Women in Nuclear (WiN) Cumbria last week.  The launch, which took place on International Women’s Day, saw over 100 attendees, representing 45 companies, come together to understand the distinct gender issues in Cumbria and contribute towards the future direction of the group. Here Sheena describes her role and interest in WiN…

I have been a member of WiN UK since 2015 and was invited to join the WiN Cumbria Committee last year.  I am passionate about sharing my experience within the nuclear industry and helping it achieve diversity, equality and inclusivity with particular focus on recognising and rewarding the value of all.

Currently only 22% of the UK’s nuclear industry is female and numbers decline significantly at senior levels, statistics that WiN UK are working to change.  There is strong evidence to suggest that an inclusive environment, with diverse teams, leads to better performance.

WiN Cumbria

I’m proud to be part of the team that organised last week’s WiN Cumbria launch event at the new National College for Nuclear at Lillyhall, Workington – just down the road from INS’s West Cumbria base.   The launch took place on 8 March to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The WiN Cumbria branch recognises the unique contribution that Cumbria makes to the nuclear sector.  The local branch allows us to focus on Cumbria as a region with its own distinct issues.

The launch

Inspirational speakers included Dorothy Gradden OBE (Head of Programme Legacy Ponds, Sellafield), Sarah Purdham (Managing Director of Prima Uno and Alison McDermott (Managing Director of Diversity Ltd).  They shared their personal journeys, which whilst different, shared common themes around challenges, obstacles, opportunities, the importance of support networks and active encouragement.  Not least of having the belief and confidence to take full advantage of opportunities. 

The day also included round table discussions, during which smaller groups focused on different challenges and identified potential solutions. The outputs, in the form of commitments, were posted on the wall and it was evident that whilst there were a lot of issues identified, importantly there were lots of ideas of how to address them and how we can break down barriers that exist today.   There was a fantastic buzz during the discussions with 190 commitments being pledged.

Chris Watson, INS’s Business Services Director, also attended the event with me and I know he found the day really inspiring and thought provoking. Crucially, he’s also committed to continue to support WiN and use the learning, training and support that WiN offers to further improve gender equality in INS.

So what’s next for WiN Cumbria?

The day was rounded off with the WiN Cumbria Committee presenting its planned programme for 2018 which looks at:

  • Providing inspirational role models to speak at events
  • Creating an environment for networking opportunities
  • Providing a mentoring programme
  • Offering training and upskilling opportunities
  • Raising the diversity profile across the industry

A joint ‘Audience with’ and networking event is planned for May 2018, with mentoring and training events to follow.  Watch this space ………….

What’s next for me?

I will be working with WiN Cumbria on a couple of areas relating to diversity in the industry and retention of skills.  I am also planning to work with my INS colleagues as part of the organisation’s commitment to building an organisation that’s equal, diverse and embraces differences in background, opinions and thoughts.