Phoebe Collister, HR Administrator and Coordinator, joined the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) as a Business Admin apprentice in September 2022 before moving into the HR team. She was part of the taskforce which enabled the NDA achieve Menopause Friendly Accreditation, leading on supporting work experience students at the NDA, as well being a key figure in the onboarding process for the 2023 NDA group graduates scheme. Phoebe has represented the NDA on a number of levels, including in webinars for National Graduate Week, at the Houses of Parliament, and presenting to over 350 people at the NDA staff event. Here, we speak to Phoebe about her apprenticeship journey, how the NDA has supported her, and what advice she has for those considering launching their career through an apprenticeship.

Prior to my apprenticeship, I was studying for my GCSEs, but I had a part time job as a receptionist at a local hotel alongside this. I didn’t really have a desire to go into sixth form and I enjoyed being part of a team, engaging with people from all walks of life and looking after the admin side of things.

It meant being focussed, organised, and proactive, so when I saw a Business Admin apprenticeship being advertised by Energus, I knew I had to apply as it would be right up my street, providing the chance to enter the workplace, where I could collaborate and embrace new challenges.

My first six weeks of my apprenticeship saw me supporting the NDA Business Support team. Quickly picking this up and excelling in an extremely vital and busy department, I was soon placed within another equally vital and busy department: Human Resources (HR). This saw me having to quickly pick up new activities and see another side of the business. Day to day tasks included triaging staff queries, signposting individuals to relevant information, and ensuring all employee data was kept up to date in compliance with appropriate regulations.

Due to the fast-paced nature of the business, which is after all leading on a globally important mission, I was offered so many opportunities to try my hand at other activities, which saw me utilise my skills and develop in a way so I would feel the full impact of my apprenticeship. Because I’ve always been a people person, I was given the chance to represent the NDA on a local and national level. Examples include encouraging other young people to consider a career in the NDA, interviewing students hoping to get work experience and supporting them during their time at the NDA.

I also have engaged directly with our group graduates (which to many may seem strange that a 17-year-old is offering career advice and guidance to people in their 20s). But this was another example of the NDA seeing what skills I had and helping me use them to not just my advantage, but also to theirs. In doing this, they are building not only my skills for the future, but their own. And the support I have received from them has been invaluable. There’s a real collaborative feel to the NDA, where people are encouraging of you and want you to succeed. They push you to reach your full potential and you know there will always be someone there to lend a helping and supportive hand.

And progression opportunities haven’t stopped there.

In addition to professional development, which has seen me complete courses on areas such as Mental Health First Aid and stakeholder management I have had the chance to engage with key stakeholders and represent the NDA on a national level. A standout moment was leading on the NDA groups’ involvement in Nuclear Week in Parliament and the sector skills fair. I essentially acted as the project lead during this time, communicating and collaborating with key stakeholders across the group to ensure a successful outcome, and putting a real focus on diversity and inclusion across the NDA. During the week, I engaged with not just parliamentarians, but other high-level representatives in the nuclear supply chain, effectively showcasing the breadth of the NDA group and opportunities available.

Over the last few months, I have moved into a full-time role within the NDA HR team, despite my apprenticeship not yet complete! The transition has been seamless, and I am extremely settled and content. I’m truly excited to continue my journey with the NDA, developing my career further and striving to do the best job I possibly can for its employees. My apprenticeship really helped me decide which career path I want to go down, as this is something that was not often made clear to me beforehand. With the exposure, opportunities, amazing colleagues, challenges, and support throughout my apprenticeship, I have genuinely found my passion, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Meet more apprentices from the nuclear sector here.