International Women’s Day, celebrated on 8th March every year, is a day when women all around the world are celebrated for their achievements.

In an interview to mark International Women’s Day, 2019 we spoke with Wales Nuclear Forum Steering Group member, Vivienne Compton to celebrate her own career achievements.

Vivienne is founder and director of the award winning skills consultancy, Industry Learning Solutions Limited – a skills and training brokerage and consultancy based in Wales. The company, founded in 2018, is enjoying success on a national scale and offers employers an independent skills service to develop talent pipelines. Operating within manufacturing and engineering companies across nuclear, automotive and aerospace projects, the provision of World-class Operational Excellence and Manager Development is the company’s key focus.

What made you interested in becoming a part of Wales Nuclear Forum?

I had worked in the nuclear sector as part of the business engagement team at Bridgwater and Taunton College in Somerset. Alongside senior managers, I ensured the college was at the centre of emerging opportunities within the industry and its supply chain, but there was little understanding of the benefits nuclear technology could bring to Wales at that time. So, I joined the governing board of one of the largest colleges in Wales, to capitalise on national opportunities and see to it that Wales did not miss out.

When WNF Chairman, Peter Cornish, approached me to join the board in Wales I leapt at the chance. Opportunities within the nuclear supply chain are vast and increasing. Living in Wales, I want to see as many companies as possible gain an unbiased understanding of the prospects available, as well as guidance on how to access the market.

What do you hope the group will achieve?

I hope the group will continue to support companies in Wales, introducing them to buyers and connecting them with low-carbon opportunities.

Proactive marketing to promote Welsh businesses and familiarising leading with the range of potential supply chain companies in Wales will be key to our success.

Are there any innovations within your sector that you believe should be adopted by the wider Welsh market?

Technology is advancing with increasing momentum, and organisations embracing disruptive tech are becoming more efficient. The innovations in my business include data capture in manufacturing of live machine data transmitted instantly to a handheld device so that mangers are in control of instant data and performance against KPIs. With advancing technology, however, businesses are under increasing threat from ransomware, data breaches and cybersecurity expertise, including skills like intrusion detection, malware reversing and risk analysis.

How important is it to encourage women into the nuclear industry?

I think we need to rethink how we portray the industry within schools, and how we prepare young women to become work ready. I believe there is too much focus on measurable results and statistics within education, and not enough emphasis on vocational skills.

We need to rethink how we portray the industry within schools, and how we prepare young people to become work ready. I believe there is too much focus on measurable results and statistics within education, and not enough emphasis on vocational skills.

Do you have advice for women hoping to reach leadership positions?

The higher you go up the career ladder, the lonelier you will feel – don’t expect everyone to be your friend when you are the boss. Managing people and behaviour can be one of the most difficult things you do – but also one of the most rewarding. Whenever you can, find yourself a mentor – someone to talk and support you in difficult times. Take up voluntary board positions as it is good practice to give back to community and great preparation for leadership.

What do you think are the most important qualities for success in business?

Perseverance. Perspective. Personality. Integrity.

How important is it for Welsh businesses to develop future talent?

Businesses need to invest in their talent pipelines. With the nuclear, construction, aerospace and automotive sectors, there will be increased competition for candidates from the same labour force, meaning companies will need to invest in developing their young apprentices to continue to innovate. Working with local schools and colleges to promote opportunities will make young people more aware of what skills are needed. A commitment to growing your company’s talent within a competitive market makes young apprentices more likely to stay.

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