From Snow to Sand

By AidanWoof | footprints | October 6, 2013

Much like my favourite books series (the Dark Tower, say thank ya for asking) it is not possible to fit everything I want to in one telling. For once I have quite a bit to blog about so I will take a leaf out of the book series and split this blog into manageable sizes. In my last blog I had just spent a cold snowy winter in Scotland working at Chapelcross. Today I am writing from the scorching desert heat in Abu Dhabi. I thought before I write about what I do over here, I would try to shed some light on the process of getting an international placement.

Now I had thought about working in the middle-east ever since I was an idealistic teenager, believing becoming a chemical engineer in the oil rich gulf would be the most achievable way to earn the big bucks. While I am sadly not earning that sky high salary I dreamed of, nucleargraduates has provided me with the opportunity to realise a career milestone. I seriously didn’t expect to come to the country with the 7th largest oil reserve in the world to work on a nuclear energy project!

I thought in the blog I would explain more of the pre-secondment work to demonstrate that an international secondment is no overseas jolly. The decision to come here was not as simple as merely applying for the position; sending your CV off and hope that your skills match the role description was only the first hurdle.

Even once the placement provider is interested in you, there is still many more approvals to gain. You have to prove that you have clearly thought about the secondment and its long term benefits to both yourself and your sponsor. My next step was convincing Magnox to let me go. Immediately the questions were fired out, which included such head scratchers as “how will this help Magnox?” and “what can you get over there that you cannot achieve in the UK?” Now I am afraid I can’t give you my answers, but my advice to anybody is to be absolutely clear in your mind about what you want to get out of it, how to apply it and how this will be of use to your sponsor. If your only reason is, “so I can experience a different culture”, chances are you won’t go.

The next stage was travelling from Carlisle to sunny Bristol to have a meeting with my mentor, to do yet even more convincing. This time more directed towards how the secondment will be beneficial for chartership. So now that the approvals are met, now can we finally send over the contract and make it official? Not quite yet. The final stage is to convince nucleargraduates, this time by demonstrating you can sort out all dosimetry requirements and have suitably predicted the cost of the secondment to see if your budget allows it. Exhausting right? But having finally sorted all of that out (and a whole lot more planning, shopping and packing) I finally made it to Abu Dhabi. However I will warn you, looking back this was all the easy part!

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