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ONR nuclear security inspector selected for prestigious cross-Channel mentoring scheme

The Women in Nuclear (WiN) UK-France mentoring programme – a cross-Channel career development scheme - has welcomed its new cohort for 2024/25

Among those chosen this year is Sarah Bolt, a nuclear security inspector within ONR’s Sellafield, Decommissioning, Fuel and Waste division who will be mentored by a senior leader within the French nuclear sector.

Now in its fourth year, the acclaimed programme is jointly organised by WiN UK and WiN France and pairs female mentees in their early-to mid-career with mentors who provide impartial advice and encouragement, assist with problem solving and help develop self-confidence, knowledge and relevant skills.

Mentors also benefit from the opportunity to support the development of others, reflect on and develop their own practice, as well as improving their communication and interpersonal skills.

Participants meet regularly with their mentors and are also connected with fellow mentees, enabling them to share their experiences and build their networks.

They will also have the opportunity to attend two in-person events, in London next month and Paris later in the year.

Sarah joined ONR five months ago after working in Vienna for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Division of Nuclear Security.

She has already had a positive first meeting with her mentor Andrea Bachrata, Head of Laboratory at the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission.

Sarah said: “I’ve recently started my career in ONR and having a senior mentor from the French nuclear sector will be immensely beneficial as I navigate this transition period.

“I’m confident that Andrea’s guidance will support me to strengthen the tools I need to thrive in this demanding field, demonstrating that gender should not be a barrier to success in the nuclear industry.

“Through mentorship, I hope not only to develop professionally but also make lasting relationships and contribute to promoting diversity within the sector.”

Last month’s launch and closing WiN mentoring event for the 2023/24 programme was attended by Eleanor Crossley, a nuclear equivalence inspector for structural integrity within ONR’s Operating Facilities division, who took part in last year’s scheme.

She said: “My mentee experience progressed really quickly and I found it an amazing opportunity.

“Being in a room of 90% women is rare within the nuclear sector and it was refreshing and encouraging to be part of this network and share experiences.

“I have been able to build connections outside of ONR, both in the UK and France, and gain a new perspective on the industry as a whole.

“My mentor was full of useful advice on my strengths and areas for improvement, including how to present myself, have confidence in my career and maintain work-life balance.

“It was great to work with someone I could look up to, as an example of where I could aspire to be in the future.”

To hear other past ONR participants’ reflections on the Women in Nuclear UK-France mentoring programme, watch our short video.