Office for Nuclear Regulation

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National Apprenticeship Week 2020

7 February, 2020

ONR has been supporting National Apprenticeship Week 2020

This annual celebration, which runs from 3 to 9 February, is designed to promote the multitude of apprenticeship opportunities available as well as celebrate the impact of apprenticeships on individuals, employers and the economy.

We have invested in apprenticeships since 2017 and currently have 25 colleagues on the programme across a range of disciplines including business administration, cyber security and nuclear degree apprenticeships.

This year we’ve been joining in the celebrations for the first time with a number of activities including current and former ONR apprentices providing an insight into the experiences and highlighting the positive impact the programme has had on their careers.

During the week our colleagues have heard from external training providers about the variety of apprenticeships on offer. These opportunities are not exclusively for those at the start of their career but are open to everyone.

Debbie Harrison-North, ONR’s HR Head of People Services, said: “Apprenticeships play a key role in helping us to recruit, and retain, the talent that ONR needs. They’re a great way to enhance your skills and knowledge and can give your career a real boost.”

As part of our National Apprenticeship Week 2020 celebrations, we’re profiling the stories of some of our apprentices to highlight the positive impact of apprenticeships on both individuals and ONR. We hear from Jo, Jonathan, Jessica and Alexandra about their experiences.

Jo – Regulatory Assurance, Business Administration L2 & L3

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

I chose an apprenticeship after realising that university wasn’t for me (three months living in university halls confirmed that!) I still wanted to develop my skills and undertake training, but also needed to secure myself a job to pay the bills. Being able to join an organisation and work my way up whilst learning on the job was really appealing, and the Business Administration apprenticeship with ONR seemed a great way to do this.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship?

Learning job-specific skills whilst also developing my knowledge and expertise in business administration, which I’ll be able to apply in any role. Being able to learn on the job, and really get involved with the work my team does, has opened my eyes to a career that I would like to pursue, which I wouldn’t have ever thought about before I began my apprenticeship at ONR. This has led me to undertake profession-specific training and I’ll soon begin further qualifications in this area.

How has ONR supported you during your apprenticeship?

My CDM has been hugely supportive throughout both my Level 2 qualification and my Level 3, which I am currently working through, by allowing me time off the job to work on my qualification and by providing guidance and suggestions when I need them. ONR really recognises the importance of training staff and allowing them to develop their skills, to the benefit of both the organisation and the individual, and this is truly appreciated by staff.

Jonathan – Security and Safeguards, Cyber Risk Analyst Level 4

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

At the time of joining the Cyber Apprenticeship, my prime focus was Protective Security; however, with the evolution of technology and subsequent growth in cyber-crime, I felt it was important to develop my knowledge of how to protect, recover and respond to cyber threats and manage the associated risks that affect sites and plant. I wanted to benefit from training and certifications that would help me better understand our dutyholders’ Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) environments and learn more about their management of cyber and information risks.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship?

Although the understanding of the cyber paradigm is vital, there is nothing more rewarding than passing industry-recognised certifications. I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot over the last 12 months.

How has ONR supported you during your apprenticeship?

ONR has been very supportive by giving me time and flexibility to complete assignments, study and sit exams. ONR assigned an experienced inspector to mentor me along the way, and I benefited hugely from their knowledge and experience. The Cyber Apprenticeship is a Level 4 qualification but ONR also supported me through an additional Level 6 qualification – the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) – helping me to build further capability in this area which will benefit both myself and ONR.

I would highly recommend the Cyber Apprenticeship regardless of specialism as, with the advancement of technology, cyber security will play an increasingly important role in safety and security.

Jessica – HR, Business Administration L2

Why did you choose an apprenticeship ?

I chose to do an apprenticeship as I felt it would benefit me in the future, as well as helping me to better perform my role within HR People Services.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship?

The apprenticeship has really helped with my understanding of my role and where it fits into the overall HR structure. It has also supported the development of my time management skills, which is crucial when working as part of a busy team. Through my work on the apprenticeship I’ve also grown in confidence when communicating with staff at all levels across ONR.

How has ONR supported you during your apprenticeship?

ONR has provided me with valuable support throughout my apprenticeship by allocating time for me to study whilst working full time. My colleagues have also been really helpful in proactively planning work allocation to enable me to manage my workload accordingly.

Alexandra – Delivery Support, Business Administration L2 & L3

Why did you choose an apprenticeship?

I chose an apprenticeship as I felt it was a great opportunity to develop, and would mean I could gain knowledge and skills to further the experience I have obtained through my day-to-day role.

What’s been the most rewarding part of your apprenticeship?

I think it is rewarding when what I have learnt through apprenticeships can be applied to work situations, as it shows the skills are transferable in many situations. I also think that it has made a difference taking part in an apprenticeship alongside other members of staff, as it has been really beneficial that we are all there to help and support each other.

How has ONR supported you during your apprenticeship?

ONR has continuously supported me throughout my apprenticeship, and been understanding and supportive when time has had to be set aside specifically for the apprenticeship. My team has helped to reallocate day-to-day work at times when NVQ work has needed to be a priority, which I have really appreciated.