VICKI Connor is making her way in a man's world and is determined others will follow.

Vicki is part of the Women in Operational Technology group at Sellafield.

Group members aim to bring more women into science and technology and support them when they are there.

"We are a gender balance group and we still have some way to go," Vicki said.

The women have won the STEM award and are now shortlisted for the Nuclear Awards for their initiatives.

One of the things the group does is go out to primary schools to encourage young girls to look at science and technology as options and to give them the confidence to enter this almost exclusively male domain.

They still have a way to go.

"In the last apprenticeship intake there were only two girls and 10 boys so we still have plenty of work to do."

Vicki said Covid had further obstructed them.

When teachers were struggling with online classes, there was neither the time nor the inclination to push pupils in certain directions.

But that just means the group will work harder.

"We intend to visit schools around Cumbria, from Barrow to Carlisle."

As well as promoting science options for girls, the group does annual fundraising in one of the most traditional ways possible.

They hold an annual cake sale and this year earned over £1,700 for Women Out West.

Vicki said: “We raise money every year for a women’s charity and this year we chose Women Out West. It’s an excellent centre based in West Cumbria, helping vulnerable women and their families."

She said the cake sales are very popular and a great way of raising money for charity.

Vicki has worked at Sellafield for 21 years. She started in administration but then kept applying for other jobs and is now a network engineer at Sellafield, communications, development and retention lead for the group which will encourage girls into the nuclear industry.

While, as already stated, there is still a long way to go, she said in that 21 years she has seen a difference, not only in the women working there, but also in the acceptance from their male colleagues.