“Assystem helped me dare to pursue my dream of working on virtual reality projects.”

By Victoria McLaughlin, Information Manager, Assystem UK


Victoria McLaughlin 
Information Manager
@Assystem in the UK

You originally joined Assystem’s graduate programme as an electrical engineer – what inspired you to make the switch to this new opportunity?

I joined Assystem in 2021 as part of Assystem’s graduate programme, taking on an electrical engineering role to support the construction of Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first new nuclear power plant in around 30 years.

During my graduate programme, I was invited to visit the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) in Paris and it was here that I first learned how virtual reality (VR) could be used for nuclear operations. I’ve always been interested in VR, but I’d only ever experienced it within video games. Finding out we had VR related projects within Assystem was exciting!

How did Assystem’s teams help you to explore your ambitions?

In my second year with Assystem, and at the end of my first project, I began exploring the possibility of developing my skills on digital projects. Assystem’s digital business is growing rapidly, opening more opportunities for people just like me. In my case, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something new without having to leave the company.

Our UK digital team found out about my interest in VR and after speaking with them about my ambitions in this area, I was offered the chance to lead a project to test new capabilities for VR in UK projects.

This was a new experience for me, but my colleagues and managers encouraged me to give it a go. I was given the bandwidth to learn and develop independently, but I’ve also had a good support structure to answer any questions I have. it’s been great to have access to specialists at all levels and across different sectors of our global business.

What 3 things helped you get out of your comfort zone?

As someone who considers themselves quite introverted, being trusted to manage a project like this was a great opportunity to push my boundaries and grow in areas I hadn’t experienced before. I’d say that the key things helping me to push myself and develop were:

1 - Supportive colleagues
From my digital colleagues in the UK and France all the way up to our Global Chief Technical Officer, my colleagues have always been happy to help. Even when presenting to our most senior leaders, they’ve never made me feel like there was a huge difference between me and them – there are no egos!

2 -  Being trusted to lead
It’s only my second year at Assystem and I’ve been trusted to lead this project through to completion. Although I can call on the support of my colleagues, it’s incredible to think that during this project, I’ve been managing teams in the UK, France, and India.

3 - Having the freedom to experiment
I’ve been given plenty of scope to find my way of managing this project; selecting, budgeting, and testing different software packages, before demonstrating my ideas by creating a virtual model of an Assystem office to serve as a working-demo of how we could use VR to assist clients. When I presented my findings to our international digital team and our Chief Technical Officer, they not only listened to what I had to say but were excited to support the project’s next stages!