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Spotlight: Abidikhani Ali, Nuclear Policy Officer, BEIS

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

During my time at university, all of my family (besides my dad and I) moved to Egypt so during all the holidays I was flying between the UK and Egypt!

Tell us about your career journey so far.

During my a-levels I studied Chemistry Maths and Biology and went on to study chemical engineering at university. This was difficult to adjust to as at first engineering was very physics based and was something I did not feel comfortable with but soon after I found my feet and fell in love with the course!

Fast forward to now and I’m part of the nuclear graduates graduate scheme, as part of this scheme I’m able to do secondments with different companies within the nuclear industry. To start with I did a placement with Rolls-Royce submarines based in Derby as a Chemical Process Engineer.

This role really touched on some of the important elements I’d learnt at university and was pivotal in showing the real world applications of my degree. I’m currently on placement with the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy sector of the government (BEIS) as a Nuclear Safety Policy Officer.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

My favourite subject in school was a tie between graphics and maths. They’re completely opposite but both touch upon my interests and the way I learn. With graphics I was able to tap into my creative side and tap into some free-thinking, whilst with maths I was able to use a systematic thinking approach and there was nothing more rewarding than answering a hard question!

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

I’d say maths chemistry and physics are the most important skills for a chemical engineer as the degree uses work requires different aspects of each. With chemistry its about knowing states and chemical reactions, with maths it’s about being able to apply complicated algorithms to an equation and knowing what to do, and with physics its about knowing how things like fluids behave. My job at BEIS doesn’t use any of those skills and is more about the soft skills, how to talk to different people and make sure you’re able to effectively communicate!

What is your favourite thing about your job?

My favourite thing about the nuclear graduate scheme is having the freedom to be able to work for different companies in the nuclear industry! It’s so important being able to experience so many different roles, to take these skills with you to different places and this job allows me to do that!

What is a normal day in your role like?

As I’m currently working for BEIS, a normal day in my role is heavily focused on meetings. As a nuclear safety policy officer by job is to make sure that the nuclear power plants in the UK are operating in a way that is safe and adhering to appropriate rules around safety! Currently this involves setting up meetings with people from all of the different power plants, because of the pandemic all of these meetings are now online! Recently my team had an emergency about the difficulty in communicating with lots of different people and so we set up a shared folder where everyone can update the work as necessary.

And what does your job title mean?

My job title is currently “Nuclear Safety Policy Officer” this means that I have to ensure that the nuclear safety policies are established and enforced. My team are involved in setting up the different laws that the companies in the nuclear industry need to follow to ensure that everything is safe!

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

Take a look at the different radioactive sources – did you know that bananas are the most radioactive food!


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