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Technical Leadership for Nuclear Professionals

NSAN Technical Leadership
A group of ten participants from the nuclear power industry completed their customised module in Technical Leadership.

The Technical Leadership module is the third and final of the Certificate of Nuclear Professionalism modules delivered to this cohort at Aston Business School by the Centre for Executive Development.  The participants in the programme are professionals drawn from a number of leading organisations in the nuclear industry including Sellafield, Magnox and the National Nuclear Laboratory.  The module aims to build an understanding of the context in which technical leadership operates within a challenging industry. Module participants gain awareness of the issues, implications and interdependencies involved when leading a team to design, commission and implement technical solutions that meet business critical requirements.

The Centre for Executive Development delivered the two day module at Aston Business School in partnership with the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN).  Associate faculty member Dr Andy Bass delivered the module’s theoretical content, with industry expertise provided by Brian Wimpenny, an independent safety consultant with over forty years’ experience of the nuclear sector, including working at senior management level and as a regulator.

The module deployed a unique industry case study scenario to ensure theoretical material is grounded in examples of real professional practice.  The case study was run over the two days of the module and simulates a solution-oriented approach to a real world safety problem – in this case moving radioactive waste safely and securely from one location to another. The simulated project unfolded through four discrete half-day phases: Strategy; Optioneering; Option Development; and Detailed Design.
During each phase participants were introduced to a range of best practice tools to develop problem solving, decision making and stakeholder management skills, and then encouraged to apply them during practical sessions through interactive discussions, group work, knowledge sharing and collaborative support.

At the conclusion of each phase industry expert Brian Wimpenny played the role of an industry regulator reviewing the project’s progress with the participants, encouraging them to reflect on the impact of their technical decisions on each stakeholder group, and focussing especially on helping participants to foster a collaborative relationship with the regulator to ensure a successful outcome to the project.

The graduate-level Certificate of Nuclear Professionalism has been developed by NSAN, established to ensure that the UK Nuclear Industry and its Supply Chain has the skilled, competent and safe workforce it needs to deal with the current and future UK nuclear programme.  The Certificate incorporates seven modules designed to equip individuals with the necessary skills for today’s professional working within the nuclear industry. The Centre for Executive Development is providing faculty and content for three of the modules: Commercial Awareness, Project Management and Technical Leadership.

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