Jill Partington, International Marketing and Communications Manager at Assystem.
In the third of our Signatory in the Spotlight articles, our Editor, Nichola McCall, talks to Jill Partington, International Marketing and Communications Manager at Assystem.
Assystem provides project management, design and digital engineering solutions within the energy and infrastructure sectors and across the entire nuclear lifecycle. Assystem is a Tier 1 engineering services supplier to Hinkley Point C and is part of the UK SMR consortium. Assystem is also supporting the nuclear fusion experiments run by the UKAEA at Culham.
What actions have been taken by Assystem?
#INCREDIBLEWOMEN committee members
Assystem has a dedicated corporate programme focused on increasing the recruitment and retention of women and the progression of women into senior positions inside the business. It is delivered across the three pillars of Recruit, Retain and Evolve. At group level the programme has been in operation for ten years. It launched in the UK just over a year ago and the vision of the programme is supported by a specific strategy and KPIs for each pillar that are monitored on a monthly basis by the UK management team and the senior management at group level.
Assystem has made a number of investments in the programme as listed below:
- #INCREDIBLEWOMEN is driven at group level by a Head of Programme who reports directly to the senior leadership team in the company. There is a UK Head of Programme who reports directly into the UK senior leadership.
- #INCREDIBLEWOMEN’s KPIs are part of the business planning metrics, scrutinised each month by the management teams.
- Senior managers from group are invested in the success of the programme and are funding proactive recruitment campaigns in 2021.
- Members of the UK management team sit on the #INCREDIBLEWOMEN committee and own specific actions relating to their area of responsibility and influence.
- Women in the UK business have benefitted from external coaching sessions.
- Assystem has invested in sponsored #INCREDIBLEWOMEN targeted advertising campaigns on LinkedIn.
What has been the impact of the work?
Assystem campaign poster
Since launching in March 2020, the #INCREDIBLEWOMEN programme in the UK has:
- Improved the company’s UK maternity policy by enhancing the package.
- Created a committee of men and women to drive the strategy forward.
- Developed a technical graduate scheme to bring 100 women into graduate engineering roles at Hinkley Point C.
- Coordinated members of the committee to assist with the rollout of a campaign raising awareness of everyday sexism.
- Commissioned a YouGov poll to investigate the barriers to women in STEM and whether having more women in engineering would increase innovation (62% of UK public said ‘yes’).
- Coordinated a live recruitment event for women STEM graduates to raise the profile of Assystem and the wider nuclear industry.
- Supported the WiN UK + NSSG awards and skills festival.
- Started a number of projects to improve/ change processes in recruitment, internal talent advancement and graduate recruitment of women.
- Undertaken analysis of our recruitment data as part of the WiN UK MAP tool pilot.
- Run two targeted INCREDIBLEWOMEN campaigns on LinkedIn.
- Undertaken multiple STEM events with secondary school and college students.
- Launched an internal mentoring programme for the first cohort of high potential women (December 2020).
- Launched a programme of “Lunch and Learn” sessions to profile inspiring speakers to educate and inspire our colleagues on gender equality-focused topics.
- Increased the percentage of women in management positions across the UK business.
What challenges have been encountered? How were they overcome?
There is one major barrier to progress with our KPI; the one faced by the industry, which is the very low numbers of women who are Suitably Qualified Experienced People (SQEP) to hire and low numbers of women studying engineering at degree level to recruit as graduates.
At Assystem we are taking ownership of the wider sector issue; we feel that we can affect change through a range of different approaches to attract women at different stages of their evolution from students; to STEM; to engineering.
The senior leadership at Assystem fully understands this issue and is very open to take on the challenge and invest in focused projects.
What’s next for Assystem?
- Following the success of our STEM women event in early 2021, we’ve developed a technical graduate scheme to place women STEM graduates on site at Hinkley Point C, with our first intake scheduled to join us in September 2021.
- We’re partnering with the Guardian as their featured sponsor for 50 Top Women in Engineering 2021.
- Assystem will also be making much more of our #INCREDIBLEWOMEN web pages, with more interesting interviews being profiled on these pages.
- Inside Assystem we plan to broaden our reach for #INCREDIBLEWOMEN connecting with more colleagues + creating more growth and learning opportunities through our “Lunch and Learn” programme.
And much, much more!
Are we on track to achieve 40% women working in the UK’s nuclear industry by 2030?
It is difficult to say without seeing the data that is being provided by other companies in the sector. However as an engineering company that is committed to achieving gender diversity and in the thick of projects that will make it happen, it is clear that if we do hit the target it will be because of a concerted and combined effort of the entire sector. Looking at the data today we cannot expect to arrive at the 2030 target by just doing the things we have always done. A big investment is required by all.
Coming soon…. we will also be hearing in the Spotlight from Cavendish Nuclear and Atkins. If you are a Women in Nuclear UK charter signatory and want to share your story please get in touch now at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read previous Signatory in the Spotlight articles