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A Day of Insight and Innovation at Gen2: Reflections from Matt Aukett

Matt Aukett, Chair of the NI Cumbria Branch, offers his reflections on representing the Nuclear Institute at a Gen2 careers event for apprentices in Workington, Cumbria. 

Gen2 is a City & Guilds training provider specialising in the Engineering, Nuclear, and Manufacturing sectors. It is also a NI Educational Affiliate Member. 

Nurturing the Next Generation of Nuclear Professionals

As the NI Cumbria Branch Chair, I recently had the privilege of engaging with the apprentices at Gen2. It was an enlightening experience, filled with lively discussions and a glimpse into the future of nuclear engineering.

The Value of Professional Membership

My primary focus during the session was to articulate the significance of professional membership at the Nuclear Institute. It was inspiring to see the apprentices' keen interest in the nuclear sector and their eagerness to learn about the pathways that could shape their future careers. 

Here, I emphasised several key benefits:

  1. Networking Opportunities: Membership opens doors to a community of professionals in the nuclear sector. Apprentices can connect, share ideas, and learn from experienced professionals, which is invaluable for career development.
  2. Educational Resources: The Nuclear Institute provides access to a wealth of resources, including journals, webinars, and conferences, keeping members abreast of the latest industry trends and technological advancements.
  3. Professional Recognition: Being a member of a respected institute adds credibility and recognition to one's professional profile, which is particularly beneficial when starting a career.
  4. Career Development: The institute offers guidance and support for professional development, including mentoring programs, which can be instrumental in shaping a successful career in the nuclear industry.
  5. Influence Industry Standards: Members have the opportunity to contribute to the development of industry standards and policies, playing a direct role in shaping the future of the nuclear sector.

It was inspiring to see the apprentices' keen interest in the nuclear sector and their eagerness to learn about the pathways that could shape their future careers.

A Meaningful Dialogue with Graham Whittaker

A highlight of my visit was my conversation with Graham Whittaker, the lecturer guiding these bright minds. He shared details about their end-of-year project competition scheduled for December 15th, and I was delighted when he asked if the Nuclear Institute could contribute a judge for the event.

The Diverse Talent Pool

The apprentice cohort at Gen2 is impressively diverse, with expertise spanning a wide range of engineering disciplines, control systems, safety case studies, and operational strategies. Their multifaceted skills were evident in the unique challenge they were undertaking.

Embracing the Challenge: Robot Wars

Drawing inspiration from the popular TV show hosted by Craig Charles, the apprentices have been tasked with a Robot Wars competition. This involves not only designing and building their own robots, complete with a variety of weapons, but also constructing the arena for the competition.

An integral part of their project is the inclusion of water plants, aligning with a sustainability goal set for their course. This aspect underscores the importance of environmental consciousness in engineering solutions, a value we hold dear at the Nuclear Institute.

As the competition date draws near, I'm pleased to share that we have secured a panel of judges, thanks to the enthusiastic response from various professional institutes. This collaboration is a testament to our collective commitment to supporting and nurturing young talent in the nuclear sector.

The upcoming competition is more than just a test of technical skill; it's a celebration of innovation, teamwork, and the pursuit of sustainable solutions in engineering. I encourage my colleagues in the industry to join us in supporting these apprentices, either as spectators or mentors, as they showcase their talents and take a significant step towards their future careers.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all who volunteered to judge the event. Your participation is invaluable in guiding these apprentices and shaping the future of our industry. 

To the apprentices of Gen2, I wish you all the best in your endeavours. Your innovation and drive are the forces that will propel the nuclear industry forward. Let's meet at the competition!