Thinking of applying for our Business Analyst vacancy? – We sat down with Derek who joined our BA team just over two years ago.
- November 7, 2019
How would you summarise the role of a Business Analyst at Sellafield?
The role of a Business Analyst is similar to being an internal consultant. You meet with your customers or clients and understand the problems they are facing and then try to identify solutions to those problems in a logical, methodical and analytical manner.
We are also involved in in optioneering, identification of solutions, Process improvement and Business change activities.
What was your role prior to joining Sellafield?
I had no exposure to Business Analysis prior to joining Sellafield, my previous role was as an account manager for Siemens, this involved working with customers to scope and provide voice and data solutions.
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?
When you join the Business Analyst team you are enrolled on to a level 4 apprenticeship. When I first heard the word apprenticeship, I thought I might be the oldest apprentice on the site, but this is one of the most effective ways for the business to be able to get British Computer Society (BCS) accredited qualifications and I found everyone from line managers, tutors and the other members of the Business Analysis team were all very supportive throughout the process.
Doing the qualification has helped me in my role equipping me with the right tools and techniques to carry out my day to day activities, such as the way I run workshops or process mapping activities.
What did that apprenticeship involve and what kind of a commitment did it require from you?
The apprenticeship involves 5 paper-based exams, gathering a personal portfolio of task-based evidence, a Synoptic project and finally an oral exam, where you walk the assessor through the portfolio and project and hopefully at the end you achieve your level 4 apprenticeship.
I haven’t done any classroom learning for quite some time, but no question was a daft question and the whole process just took twelve months.
What do you enjoy most about the Business Analyst role?
No two days are the same. I get to work on projects that differ in scope, this could mean I am involved with replacing some of our legacy IT or introducing technology that could be rolled out to be used across the whole site.
I also get to work with lots of different people, from all levels of the organisation. I find it really interesting and once you have worked with a customer for a while you get to a point where they rely on your guidance and knowledge to help them solve their problem.
What is the biggest challenge you face?
I would say you need a level of resilience, sometimes you have to push back, we have processes in place for good reason and you need to approach the business problem from a holistic viewpoint, you may meet the customer as they are about to place a contract, but if you approach the challenges in the right way hopefully the customer will see there may be better way to approach the problem.
How many are in Business Analyst Team at Sellafield?
It’s a brilliant team of 17, we are all at different stages of our Business Analyst careers. Some of the team have delivered major change projects internally and externally, some have just joined the team and some of us have just come through the apprenticeship. The team is very supportive, we peer review each other’s work and I feel you can ask a question to anyone within the team.
What does your workload look like?
This depends on complexity, I have several projects at the minute all at different stages of the life cycle for example some are in delivery mode, others are in business change mode, I have other work that is at the optioneering and identification of solution stage and others in active study.
What are the opportunities for progression for a Business Analyst?
There is a career path within the team, the next step for me would be to apply for a Senior Business Analyst position, this would mean you would have small team of Business Analysts that I would look after. I am also keen to do the BCS Diploma, which is one of the next steps in terms of gaining recognised accredited qualifications for my role after completing the apprenticeship.
What makes the role of a Business Analyst at Sellafield different to similar roles in the external market?
Whilst the rigor, security, governance and assurance is probably very different to the external market, the level of innovation in the work we are doing is probably similar. I have been recently working with a team on our site who had a long list of requirements they wanted to implement, but when we started working together, we identified that we needed something much simpler, such as Wi-Fi in the building first, that could then open the doors to innovative solutions that could make the plant run much more effectively.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking of applying?
When I originally saw the advert for my post, I looked at the job description and thought I could do that! So, go for it and apply!
If you are good at problem solving, logical in your approach and willing to learn it’s an incredible opportunity. I have never had a more varied and exciting job.