A SYSTEM engineer has taken over leading innovation projects at a major industry on the doorstep of the community where she grew up.

Lorna Devine has started her role as Engineering Development Solutions Lead at Sellafield’s Engineering Centre of Excellence at Cleator Moor, Cumbria.

With National Careers Week taking place from March 6-11, Lorna is a role model for others looking to find out more about pathways into careers.

Lorna, from nearby Cleator, was educated at Cleator Moor primary and secondary schools, Montreal and Ehenside respectively, before studying at St Benedict’s Sixth Form, Whitehaven.

She joined Sellafield and completed a degree apprenticeship with Gen2 through UCLAN and the University of Cumbria which resulted in Lorna being awarded an Honours degree in Engineering.

Now she leads innovative six-week sprint projects at Sellafield’s Engineering Centre of Excellence which looks at industry solutions which save time, money and help remove people from hazardous environments.

The collaborative projects involve industry, SMEs, graduates and students at nearby colleges to help develop people’s personal, as well as technical, skills.

“It is about understanding how the nuclear industry is changing, thinking differently on how to solve a problem,” said Lorna.

“As well as finding solutions to industry challenges we are also increasing the capability of our people, because they can apply that problem solving when they are back in the business.

“It helps people develop their careers which links back really well for me because I am supporting people who started out like I did, it’s giving back and supporting the future.

“I started when I was 18 working on Sellafield site four days a week and at college one day a week. It’s a route into a career which gave me a lot of workplace knowledge.”

Lorna now leads 10 sprint projects a year at Sellafield’s Engineering Centre of Excellence.

One project she is leading on involves applying new ways of thinking to the design of 15,000 waste containers, another involves replacing bag welders.

Cumbrian-based engineering specialists Forth are working alongside teams from Sellafield, graduates and students from Lakes College, and soft skill mentors from the Centre for Leadership Performance, to deliver the projects.

Lorna said: “This collaborative way of working, taking the challenges off site, and looking at them with a fresh pair of eyes, allows the teams to see things differently and make things better.

“My ambition is to see the learning from these ten sprints deployed onto site and into workplaces in the local community.”