Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
How maths helps bring pace to our projects
Sometimes it can be hard to see how the maths we learn at school can lead to a career outside of education.
Josh Byrne is the first person to be appointed as an operational research and analytics degree apprentice at Sellafield Ltd. He works at our Warrington offices in our Sellafield Advanced Business Analytics (SABA) department.
SABA is where simulations and analysis ensure that the business is making the right strategic decisions.
The degree programme Josh is on has been developed through collaboration with the University of Salford, with the chosen academic modules aligning with the skillset required at SABA.
I'd always had an interest in maths and problem solving, but hadn't considered the idea of an apprenticeship.
I thought the right path after college was with a university course, until I attended a careers event where I first heard about the degree apprenticeship scheme at Sellafield Ltd and had a chat to a few members of the SABA team.
I was fascinated and found real interest in the analytical tools and methods that the SABA team uses to support Sellafield’s mission. I had initially considered an engineering route, but the SABA team made me realise I could use my knowledge and passion for maths in a different way.
It's a job that gives me opportunities to work different areas of the business liaising with plant operators, design engineers, project managers and other stakeholders.
In SABA we provide support to a range of projects, from retrievals to human resources, applying different problem-solving techniques such as linear programming, simulation modelling and virtual reality. We also develop web-tools and utilise new software applications, which provide an interactive environment to share analysis with project teams.
The work at Sellafield requires continuous development and innovation. I currently work on a retrievals project for the Box Encapsulation Plant. We’re looking at accelerating hazard reduction through a concurrent processing approach which would allow the plant to process multiple waste streams simultaneously.
I'd encourage anyone with an interest in maths and problem solving to think about a career in Operational Research and Business Analytics. I've enjoyed the challenge of the apprenticeship when combining my work, college and personal life.
The experience so far has been very rewarding and showing hard work, dedication and a positive mindset has supported my progression through the scheme. I have also had a supportive network to help with my progress from my peers, such as fellow apprentices, apprenticeship co-ordinators, line managers, and my professional mentors.
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