Jade Malloy: My career from Craftsperson to Engineer
- May 30, 2023
Name: Jade Malloy
Job Title: Stream Engineer (Previously Electrical & Instrumental Craftsperson)
How would you summarise the role of an E&I Craftsperson at Sellafield?
Being a craftsperson at Sellafield is one of the main plant-facing support roles on the site. It is vital for supporting plant operations, plant safety and maintaining a safe environment for Sellafield and the wider community. Without craft people, the site could not operate and therefore would not be able to deliver its mission.
What I think is great about the E&I craftsperson role is that there is so much opportunity to personally see, learn and develop. As part of the role, you will experience problem solving, data analysis, implementation of new technology, team building, improvement activities, major projects and become a member of the Engineering & Maintenance community.
How did you get into the Engineering & Maintenance profession?
I finished school at 16 and enrolled on the GEN2 apprentice programme. This begun the start of my now 13-year journey in the Engineering and Maintenance profession at Sellafield which in honesty, I didn’t foresee as I didn’t know what to expect. I was lucky to have an amazing support network, being my family, who explained the amazing career prospects that having a trade could bring.
My high school at the time was an engineering school, so taking 2 engineering modules for my GCSEs helped me discover what I was interested in. I soon learnt that I found more interest in hands on activities and collaborative working rather than theoretical learning , this supported my decision for an apprenticeship rather than university. In my current role, I continuously refer to my experience as a craftsperson when thinking about standardisation, improvements and in reflection as part of situational awareness.
Joining a new business and industry can be quite daunting, how did you find your first your first twelve months and what training did you receive?
It really is daunting and there’s nothing I can say which will stop that nervous feeling when joining a new/unknown environment, it is a normal and expected feeling. However, I would like to reassure anyone who does join that there’s no expectation for you to pick up a tool bag and deliver maintenance on day one. The first 12 months, maybe more or less dependent on previous experience, will be where you spend your time learning your purpose, meeting those you will be working with and learning what it is you need to know to do your job effectively and safely. You will receive technical and safety training based on the equipment, process, and plant you will be working in.
Sellafield have a Maintenance Community Hub who are currently looking into improving personal development training. This will provide opportunities to individuals who want to develop their resilience, presentation skills and even leadership skills.
What do you enjoy most about being an E&I Craftsperson?
I really enjoyed learning new skills, especially reading engineering drawings and working on different process monitoring instruments. Even to this day, I still love the opportunity to read through schematics and relay logic to support major breakdowns.
What I also liked was how different each day could be as I worked in a multitude of different environments including cranes, scaffolding, vent ducts, electrical panels and even in pipe bridges. If a breakdown occurs, you get a lot of job satisfaction when you identify the root cause and rectify the fault. It was great seeing the plant back up and running and knowing that you played a part in it.
What is the biggest challenge you faced?
My biggest challenge was myself. I’m my own worst critic and can take things personally. In honesty, it has taken a long time to believe in myself and what I’m capable of. Sellafield is a large organisation filled with many people who inspire, support, and want to see others succeed.
I’ve been lucky to have had multiple career and personal mentors so far and without them, I don’t think I would be where I am today. If I could go back in time now, I would tell myself that if I’m trying to do the right thing, everything will be ok. I’ve had days where I’ve been completely baffled or missed the point in a situation, but I’m glad, as this has helped me to grow and build my own confidence.
Always remember that everyone who works at Sellafield is one team. Support is there if you need it. If you’re in a situation you’re uncomfortable with, there’s always someone there to help; you won’t ever be alone.
What are the opportunities for progression as an E&I Craftsperson?
I would like to think that my career path is a good example of the opportunities for progression at Sellafield. Whilst working as a craftsperson, a new role called System Engineering was announced and following a discussion with my career mentor, it was a role I wanted to pursue. I created a development plan to identify the experience and skills required for the role and with the support from Sellafield, I began my journey.
My plan included roles in Design Engineering, Equipment Engineering and System Engineering and during that time I also gained two degrees, a BEng in plant engineering and an MSc in Maintenance Engineering. I even completed a 1-year secondment at the NDA as an Asset Management and Continuous Improvement Specialist for the entire Sellafield site. Currently, I am in the Stream Engineer role, covering multiple operational facilities.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of applying for this role?
I would ask, why not? Sellafield will provide you with invaluable training, development, opportunity, and experience.
The craftsperson role is fulfilling and you’ll become an important asset to delivering Sellafield’s mission. Being an important asset means you too will get the time and investment you deserve to create and support the best version of yourself.
For those who aren’t from Cumbria and would move closer for the role, I couldn’t advocate enough how beautiful and lucky it is to have the lakes on your doorstep. Being part of the both the Sellafield and Cumbrian community, it won’t be difficult for to meet a lot of great people; many you’ll find are great friends for life.
We are currently recruiting for Electrical craftspeople within our Engineering & Maintenance profession, if this sounds like something you would be interested in, head over to our search and apply page for more details.