International Women’s Day will see professionals gather from the across Cumbria, pledging to address gender balance in the region.
Recognising the unique contribution that the county makes to the nuclear sector, ‘Women in Nuclear UK’ will launch a dedicated ‘Cumbria’ branch, at an event held at the new National College for Nuclear.
Claire Gallery-Strong heads up the WiN Cumbria team, she said; “There is a unique concentration of nuclear capability in Cumbria and by strengthening links here, WiN UK can help the local industry reach its full potential by maximising the talents of all.
“At the launch we are letting people know how we can help, whether that be through training, mentoring services and building a valuable network in the area.
“However, this is also a call to action. It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure we create an inclusive and fair environment that helps attract, retain and build a diverse workforce of the future, for Cumbria and the UK.
Speakers include Cumbrian entrepreneur and MD of Prima Uno Limited, Sarah Purdham, she said: “This is something very close to my heart as there is a huge wealth of talent and experience in women in West Cumbria and in the nuclear industry.
“I am looking forward to helping people follow their dreams and harness their career ambitions by listening to people and sharing my experiences, my own journey and also some of the mistakes I have made along the way.”
Equality and diversity expert Alison McDermott and Sellafield Ltd.’s Dorothy Gradden OBE are also speaking.
WiN UK was established in 2014 to increase the skills base in the nuclear industry by encouraging gender balance, improve the representation of women in leadership, engage with the public on nuclear issues and support the industry with tools and information.
Claire added; “The overwhelming response to our soft launch shows that there is a real appetite for collaboration in this area. We have people at various stages of their career, from a broad range of organisations and disciplines, all hoping to share ideas and experiences.”
Nikolaos Adamidis is also a member of the new Cumbria team, and recently won an ‘Ally of the Year’ award for his inspiring attitude to diversity and inclusion, and his work to encourage businesses to sign up to the WiN Industry Charter.
He said: “He said: “Diversity and inclusion in the nuclear industry is a topic close to my heart, and I’m looking forward to helping more businesses become part of a national conversation to create a more diverse, world-leading workforce.”
The WiN Cumbria team will carry out the objectives of WIN UK on a local basis and will engage with the local industry and support career progression through mentoring and networking. It also aims to attract younger women into the nuclear industry through engagement with local schools and universities.
Currently only 22% of the UK’s nuclear industry is female, and this number declines significantly at senior levels, statistics that WiN UK is working to change. There is strong evidence to suggest that an inclusive environment, with diverse teams, leads to better performance.
WiN UK has also developed an Industry Charter, which nuclear organisations are encouraged to sign to pledge their commitment to help address the current and future needs of the industry and tackle the UK skills shortage. The WiN Cumbria team will be encouraging local companies to sign the Charter.