Nuclear and Rail Putting Diversity on Track

The first ever joint Women in Nuclear and Women in Rail event, sponsored by Balfour Beatty, Carne Whitney and Nuclear Institute, kicked off on 23 October to a great start with attendees mingling at the networking and wine tasting event held in West Cumbria.

Debbie Francis, Managing Director at DRS, welcomed attendees from across the nuclear and rail industries to discuss the importance of diversity and inclusion.

NDA’s Assurance Director, Kenna Kintrea, shared the importance given to equality, diversity and inclusion across the NDA Group as it formally embarked on this vital improvement journey earlier this year. She spoke of the loss of opportunity when people work in places where they don’t feel comfortable, and how a creative space is an essential element required to boost innovation in our industries.

Kenna also raised the need for policy action on the importance of STEM in schools, which can have a big impact on our sectors by helping with the talent pipeline.

Seth Kybird, currently Managing Director of INS on an acting basis, shared the various light bulb moments the organisation has experienced, constantly learning as they’ve moved ahead on this journey. Instead of focusing on numbers, they now focus on the benefits of diversity having realised the need for more voices around the table. Seth said: “There is a need to get people to focus on the business benefits to better understand why and how diversity helps business. Getting different views is critical and one of the many ways to do so is through gender diversity”.

In Seth’s words: “The way the cards are stacked, it is much harder for women. This is not just about women at top of the industries but at all levels. We must discover untapped potential across our organisations”. Echoing this thought, he shared an informal experiment where a male and a female colleague switched names while dealing with the same client. It was eye-opening in realising that something as simple as a name can affect reception in the workplace, and have an impact on morale and productivity.

Dianne Richardson, Social Impact and Communications Manager at Balfour Beatty, highlighted how this is essentially about removing barriers of all kinds – whether it is gender, economic or education.


There was consensus at the end on the need for both networks to engage with a wider audience base in both industries and to ensure people understand the purpose of these networks – i.e. these networks are not for groups of women, rather are networks that work to get women into these industries. Facts and figures make it clear that our industries are missing out on the invaluable contribution that women can bring to these sectors.

It was a lively evening that united two inter-linked industries on an important topic leaving a positive impact on the attendees.


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