I am a Nuclear Engineer Degree Apprentice

Read Sally Parker’s story about her experience studying for a Tech Industry Gold Digital Degree Apprenticeship at Staffordshire University whilst working at Capula.

What is a typical day?

As many young engineers within Capula would say; “I am a Nuclear Engineer for a leading independent system integrator for control, automation, and operational intelligence systems”.

I joined a Nuclear project at the point of final build and testing. I followed the necessary procedures to revise documentation and issues during testing (PCRs).  There were plenty of issues during the acceptance, testing, and delivery stages. I enjoyed working on them and delivered what was required.

I recently joined a different team and assigned to work on the Demilitarisation Zone (DMZ).  This project is providing me with the experience of the front-end design and early lifecycle of a project. It’s challenging me technically as there are multiple technologies to learn.

What has been the best experience of your Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?  

After a year with Capula, I was tasked with training a new starter. As well as educating and training the new starter, this gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own skills. I believe one of the best ways to develop your own skills is to help and train others. This opportunity gave me the chance to revisit the early stages of my job role with hindsight, allowing me to understand in greater detail how each “puzzle” fits together.

I have faced and overcome challenges and still find myself growing and developing as a person each day. Overall, I am a Junior Engineer, co-worker, role model, and friend to many within Capula and Staffordshire University. This has been the best experience supporting my personal and professional development. 

What was the most challenging experience of your Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?  

While at school, I really disliked public speaking or presenting due to my Dyslexia. However, with the help and support from lecturers at Staffordshire University, I have developed my oracy skills. This has been a massive achievement as I have been challenged with presentations and presenting ideas for modules throughout my degree. My confidence and skills in presentations have enabled me to produce great grades.

What would you say now, to yourself, before you enrolled on your degree apprenticeship?  

When I first joined Capula, I believed that everyone around me had more knowledge and experience which tended to get me down. In the early stages of my career, I felt a “requirement” to understand all IT aspects and to be seen as a “Jack of all trades”. However, as I have progressed, I have come to understand how Project Managers want to work with individuals who make a positive contribution to projects. This has had an impact on me as I feel more valuable as a Junior Engineer, where I use analytical skills to solve problems and meet project deadlines. It is really important to remember that everyone is different and this is to everyone’s advantage.

What would you say to anyone considering a Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeship?  

You don’t have to know everything, but you just have to know where to find it. An apprenticeship within the nuclear industry really does offer exciting opportunities to learn and develop skills. You will be exposed to so many interesting and critical projects and will be working alongside many knowledgeable people.

Who inspires you?  

My family inspires me to keep pushing myself to succeed in ways I never thought I could. My colleagues keep me inspired to take on new opportunities and develop my skills.

I was impressed by Sally’s approach to learning as soon as she started the Tech Industry Gold Degree Apprenticeship. Sally has achieved a phenomenal first-class honours, BSc Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship and she has won the UK Nuclear Skills Awards Apprentice of the Year. Digital Degree Apprenticeships offer students vast amounts of opportunities. It’s not easy, but with the right balance of effort by students and support from universities, Degree Apprentices can achieve amazing results. Congratulations Sally, you will go far.

Robin Oldham, Course Director, Staffordshire University

Find out more about Degree Apprenticeships

Tech Industry Gold Degree Apprenticeship at Staffordshire University