Bethany Thomas, 23

Qualifications: Studied Physics, Chemistry and IT at A-Level and Maths at AS Level. She then went on to study Chemistry at Manchester University

From a young age, Bethany always had an interest in how things work, wanting to take objects apart and see what they did. She first became interested in the energy industry after carrying out a week’s work experience at EDF Energy’s Heysham 2 Nuclear Power Station at the age of 15. She remembers being taken on a tour of the plant, seeing the turbines and thinking “gosh this is so cool!”

Bethany studied Physics, Chemistry and IT at A-Level and Maths at AS Level. She then went on to study Chemistry at Manchester University. At the end of the second year of her degree, Bethany carried out a summer placement with EDF Energy at Heysham 2 Nuclear Power Station. It was then that she was told about an opening for a Chemistry Apprentice. Bethany secured the position and the company sponsored her while she completed the final year of her degree part-time.

A typical day for Bethany will involve monitoring the performance of the plant, such as the reactor chemistry of the coolant gas and its associated water cooled systems. If there are any problems, Bethany will carry out troubleshooting and work with Operations to return the plant to normal operation. She says that no two days are the same and she really enjoys experiencing new challenges to solve. Bethany is keen to progress her career and would like to go eventually go into station management.

Bethany says: “I visited my old secondary school a few months ago, to talk about my career. I was approached by a female student who said that she didn’t know whether to continue her studies in science or in the arts, as she was concerned that science may be ‘too difficult.’ My advice was that science is definitely not out of anyone’s grasp. It’s amazing how much you can do when you get to grips with things. I never thought I’d be in the position I am now and I’m amazed with the things I’ve achieved.”