Ashley Weeks
Systems Engineering Head of Discipline
@Assystem in the UK

First, tell us a little bit about your role and what you’re currently working on:

I’m currently working on a few different projects within our nuclear new build business, supporting Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C. I'm also supporting the development of PLM and systems engineering capabilities with our international teams, to support the infrastructure mega-projects in Saudi Arabia that Assystem is involved in.

I’m always interested in new developments, new opportunities, so having access to a wide variety of both keeps things interesting. Fortunately, the size of our business means we’re agile enough to explore new opportunities, but we’re also large enough to support them.

How would you describe the working culture at Assystem?

Collaborative! Our culture isn’t hierarchical, so everyone is listened to from graduate to director level. Our leaders realise that they can always learn from the knowledge and perspective that new starters bring to the business, so it’s great to have a strong culture of listening.

As managers, we encourage colleagues to pay attention, appreciate and consider things from another colleagues’ perspective. Not only does this encourage us to think of new ideas and solutions, it also helps us work better together by considering other peoples’ different ways of thinking and working.

There’s usually more than one answer to an engineering challenge – we get closer to finding the best solution when we’re all given the chance to bring our ideas to the table

Why is teamwork so important to the work we do at Assystem?

Because we’re a consultancy, we tend to work on a wider variety of projects than some of our competitors.

Also, because the nuclear industry is experiencing a renaissance, there are lots of new developments and opportunities opening up. This means that we have lots of newcomers to nuclear joining our business and lots of opportunities for those from other industries to bring different ideas and innovations into nuclear.

We also have a lot of different personalities in the business – that’s a good thing! We need a mixture of different views of the challenges we face to get a truly balanced view of it.

Bringing together experience from different areas of engineering gives us a much wider variety of skills that will ultimately help our business and the global energy transition. This wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t work so well together.

As someone who embodies Assystem’s spirit of teamwork, what are 3 things colleagues do to make new starters feel welcome?

1 - Be approachable
It’s important that people feel safe to ask any questions they have. Next, it’s important to listen to the questions being asked. Our leaders know this and encourage colleagues to challenge them to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be heard.

2 - Share knowledge
Share knowledge: In an industry such as ours, knowledge is power, but it’s even more powerful if it’s shared and combined with other colleagues’ knowledge. It makes us all stronger in the long run and I know that when I help someone, I can count on them to help me when I have a problem or a query.

3 - Be inclusive
We’re a business full of people pulling in the same direction and all contributions count – we’re greater than the sum of our parts!