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International Woman in Engineering Day 2018

Jen Nugent is Head of Technical at INS and oversees a team of around 20 nuclear package design and licensing experts. Here she tells us what makes her tick, and the importance of embracing diversity.

When I was asked to do a blog for International Woman in Engineering Day 2018 at first I was a bit reluctant. Writing a blog is not high on my list of ‘must dos’ or things that get me out of bed in a morning. 

But then one morning when the real reasons that get me out of bed in the morning – my two daughters (aged 5 and 8) – woke me up and insisted I get out of bed to skip around the room I thought about all the opportunities I’d like them to have open to them. They may want to be a dancer, a rugby player, an author, a train driver, a teacher, a scientist, or an engineer – but then maybe they could be all of these things. One size doesn’t fit all. 

That got me thinking about my own position. I’m extremely proud to say I’m a full time mum who works part time in the Nuclear industry.  I’m Head of Technical leading up a strong team of Engineers who design and license packages for the transport of nuclear material. 

But guess what? I’m not an engineer. I don’t have any engineering qualifications – I studied Process Biotechnology at university.

Not everyone who works in Engineering needs to have studied engineering at college or university.  I think what you do need is an inquisitive mind, an interest in problem solving and to not be afraid to ask the silly questions – they may not be that silly.  

Obviously there are jobs where you need to have appropriate training, qualifications and experience to be able to work competently and safely, but there are wider opportunities for people from all backgrounds to be able to enter into and produce good results that are not stereotypically engineering.

We all secretly may be a dancer, a rugby player, a train driver, a teacher, a scientist, or yes, an engineer. What’s important is that we embrace peoples’ differences – it may just take us to the next level.