A chartered engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, Holley Reece-Barkell is a senior leader within Frazer-Nash responsible for the operational delivery of projects to EDF Nuclear Generation. Holley is also a founding member of the Frazer-Nash Diversity and Inclusion committee, who shape and implement the company wide D&I strategy.
What actions have been taken by Frazer-Nash?
We are committed to, and accountable for, Diversity & Inclusion in Frazer-Nash and as a business we are taking steps to do things differently.
Over three years ago, we formed our D&I steering committee, comprised of a team of men and women from across the business with the objective of shaping and implementing our company wide D&I strategy.
Three years on, we have progressed in leaps and bounds. A few of our highlights include:
- We have data which allows us to collate metrics to help our business identify risk and focus areas, prioritise initiatives and track progress.
- We have people led Employee Resource Groups, which include Visible Women and Pride & Allies. These networking groups foster belonging for the members and enable the employee voice of groups that might otherwise feel marginalised.
- We created a Next Generation Advisory Committee, made up of eight of our next generation of employees (aged 30 and under) from across the organisation. The committee meets once a month to bring recommendations in response to key questions posed by the Board.
- We celebrate key D&I events throughout the year, including International Women’s Day and Pride Week. This year, we ran a competition to design a Frazer-Nash Pride t-shirt, and we hosted events designed to educate our people on what Pride means to the LGBTQ+ community and to explore the social and business benefits to allyship. Activities like this are key to Frazer-Nash living our company values of ‘we care’ and ‘we do things that matter’.
The winning Pride t-shirt
- Improving the retention and progression of women within the business is a key focus area for us. We became company partners with the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) earlier this year and actively encourage our people to get involved with the society. One of our people has been successfully elected to the WES Early Careers Board, we have judged WES awards and we recently joined the Lottie Tour (WES Lottie Tour – home), designed to inspire and encourage young girls (and boys) to think of careers in STEM subjects as open to everyone.
2022 Lottie tour, where one of our engineers took Lottie to see the fuelling machine at Hinkley Point B Power Station
- We are sponsors of the IET Young Woman Engineer (YWE) of the Year award, and last year one of our people reached the final five, which was a massive achievement we enjoyed celebrating with them.
Frazer-Nash at the 2021 award ceremony
We have achieved a great deal, but we are not complacent. There is still more we can continue to do to ensure our people can be themselves, feel empowered to achieve their personal and professional goals, and know that we respect the unique value they bring to the company.
What has been the impact of the work?
We have recently completed the Great Place to Work Survey, where 85% of our people based in the UK strongly endorsed Frazer-Nash to their friends and family as a great place to work, and 91% of our female UK employees said they can be themselves at work. Whilst this is really encouraging, there is always more we can do and we are committed to fostering a working culture that brings out the very best in our people, regardless of their circumstances, identity or background.
One particular success has been our Visible Women network. There have been some fabulous stories from women who, as a result of the support and encouragement of others within the group, have had the confidence to speak out about their experiences and career journeys. They have been a fantastic inspiration to others and are standing out as great role models for those around them.
What challenges have been encountered? How were they overcome?
At Frazer-Nash we are working to embed D&I into the culture of our business and its front and centre in our company values. This however takes time, which can be frustrating. We have partnered with an external company, STEPS, to support us on our D&I journey and to advise on best practices we can follow. We have also recently recruited an Employee Value Proposition Business Partner who is dedicated to our D&I and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. Having this focus will help us drive change more quickly.
Our second challenge is the limited pool of females to recruit from. We have worked hard to ensure our recruitment practices encourage a diverse range of applicants, and we work with organisations such as WES and Stonewall to encourage applications from minority groups. And it’s working; this year 24% of our early careers intake were female, which is really positive when considering WES reported in March 2022 women made up 16.5% of engineers.
What’s next for Frazer-Nash?
We recognise the value that differences bring to our company. Diversity and a culture of inclusion are vital for us if we are to build a strong sustainable business that harnesses innovation and creativity, two fundamental elements of what makes Frazer-Nash. We will shortly be launching a Returners programme, to encourage individuals that have had a career break to return to the industry, building experience, confidence and upskilling where necessary.
Are we on track to achieve 40% women working in the UK’s nuclear industry by 2030?
It’s certainly an ambitious target, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. At present, the pipeline of women is not sufficient to meet this target and hence this should be an area of focus. At Frazer-Nash we have had our biggest percentage intake of female graduates to date this year, and we also encourage our people to become STEM ambassadors and support STEM outreach programmes more generally. Nuclear is a fascinating, fulfilling, cutting edge industry to be part of and its vital that the younger generation see this as a doable career option for them.
Frazer-Nash at the 2022 Big Bang fair, designed to promote science and engineering careers to school children.