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Carl James Steele

Career Path: Technology Manager, Sellafield Limited
Location: Seascale, UK

I have always been interested in science from my early teens and chemistry was my best subject at school. I wanted to work in research and development but was unsure which industry I wanted to work in. My career has evolved rather than being a planned route but I have managed to take advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves to me to get where I currently am.

What are you doing now? BSc Applied Chemistry Carl Steele (1)

I work for Sellafield Limited as a Technology Manager and I am responsible for a multi-million pound research and development portfolio in nuclear fuel reprocessing and waste management working very closely with the UK National Nuclear Laboratories. I work with a wide variety of people who cover a varied range of roles, these include production and engineering, project managers, researchers, rig operators, business, finance and accounts department. I also work with our suppliers of chemicals and reagents and also with the academic community with key universities that are directly involved with nuclear research. I have a team of 13 people working directly for me and a further 30-40 people who I sub-contract work to. My team is a very diverse range of scientists, mathematicians, physicists, chemists and materials specialists. No day is the same and my job is constantly changing as the business needs at Sellafield are changing also.

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I wanted to study chemistry in a major city in the north of England, but still relatively close to my home city, Hull. When I started it was still the Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic but it had a good reputation for degree subjects and when I came to visit in the spring of 1988 I decided that it was my first choice.

What was it like studying at Northumbria?

Newcastle United had just been promoted to the first division and Kevin Keegan was playing football. It was a vibrant university campus and I enjoyed the mix of labs and lectures. I had a personal tutor to have monthly meetings with to provide some guidance to me during my academic studies. I also enjoyed the university life, Newcastle is renowned for it's nightlife and it was a lot of fun.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

The lectures were generally of a good quality and the teaching material was useful and well presented.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

My degree was a stepping stone in preparing me for a career in chemistry. When I finished my degree I still wanted to pursue a scientific career. It helped me to improve my analytical skills and problem solving ability, which are what are the most valued commodities to any business. It is because of this that chemists are so highly valued by industry and can work in a variety of different roles in any business.

What was the best thing about your course?

I really enjoyed my option to study chemical process technology, basically chemical engineering. This is the area where chemistry interfaces with industrial applications. I could use and develop my mathematical skills in a practical application.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

The social aspects, the friendships made and having freedom from moving away from home to develop into a young adult.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

Newcastle is a great place to come and study. You will have lifelong memories for your time in Newcastle and make some good friends.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Fun, rewarding opportunity.

For more information about me see:

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