Head of Engineering Design & Safety Case
Sellafield Ltd
Location: Warrington or Cumbria
Salary: Competitive

The Role

Sellafield Ltd is a nuclear decommissioning Site Licence Company and is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The company is responsible for safely delivering the decommissioning and clean‐up of the UK’s nuclear legacy in Cumbria, as well as fuel recycling and the management of radioactive wastes.

Delivering major projects is at the heart of Sellafield’s operations. The Sellafield site is one of the biggest construction sites in Europe, with an annual spend on construction projects of £500-600m per year. Their constructions are first of a kind, ranging from a single build of £1bn+ in cost to 23 projects each over £50m. The PPP (Programme and Project Partners) contracts to deliver these are some of the highest value construction contracts to have ever been let in Europe.

Sellafield are seeking an outstanding Head of Engineering Design & Safety Case to oversee the Engineering Design & Safety Case capability within the Projects Delivery Directorate, managing an annual budget of circa £12m.

The role holder will establish and implement Engineering Design a& Safety Case policy, strategy and standards in line with recognised industry best practice, and will also implement company policies to ensure Sellafield and its supply chain partners are able to deliver pragmatic, legal, safe, secure and fit for purpose technical and engineering solutions, to deliver required programme outcomes which will be of critical importance to the business and will mitigate a significant nuclear safety, security or environmental hazard.

The role holder will be an influential, empowering people leader, responsible for managing, inspiring and performance improvement of an overall team of c. 2200 resources based across the UK, to ensure team engagement, performance against objectives and goals, and achieving a strong design excellence and forward thinking culture throughout the entire organisation, as well as individual development and talent growth.

Core Duties:
  • Span of Control: 10 direct reports based in Cumbria and Warrington and direct line management to c. 130 Design Engineers in the specialist Centre of Expertise.
  • Enterprise Leader for Engineering Design & Safety Case professions for c. 770 resources within the Sellafield Ltd organisation (600 Engineering Design; 130 situated within the Specialist Delivery Centre of Expertise & 170 Safety Case professionals).
  • As Enterprise Leader is accountable for driving the change strategy/agenda within their area of responsibility, whilst ensuring alignment to business needs. Also, to work collaboratively and interdependently with the Value Streams and other Enterprise Leaders to determine the best arrangements to deliver the Enterprise mission and Value Stream business strategy.
  • Responsible for assuring that Engineering Design & Safety case delivery (encompassing the full 2200fte Sellafield and Supply Chain partner resources) in support of the Value Streams business objectives is delivered, working to the right standards and processes by competent and skilled resources to achieve the desired outcomes. Accountability for project delivery performance is within the delivery line.
  • Full accountability for the ownership, development, assurance and maintenance of the Site Licence Conditions (14, 15,19, 20 & 23), SLMS topics 1.02 Engineering Design and 2.17 Safety Cases processes and methodology and the Engineering Standards and Guides.
  • Leader of the Engineering Design & Safety Case communities, defining and implementing policies, strategy and standards, in line with best in class practices. To ensure pragmatic, safe, secure, legally compliant, fit for purpose technical engineering solutions (successfully progress from concept to production).
  • Leads, motivates and coaches the Engineering Design & Safety Case communities in the desired behaviours and in meeting standards and expectations, including nuclear safety.
  • Scope engineering solutions and safety cases that support the typical project lifecycle spend profiles of c. £600m - £1.9bn and represent 5% - 10% of the company’s annual budget.
  • Managing an annual budget of c. £12m.
  • Oversight of the management and governance activities of the DSA Executive Alliance Board, overseeing a 15 year framework sanctioned to £1.5bn over its duration.
  • Responsible for ‘design for manufacturing’ strategy and capability, ensuring the development of new innovative products, packages, technologies and uniformed approach impacting cost improvements.
  • Due to the national importance of the projects, there is a high risk of reputational damage to Sellafield Limited and the nuclear industry. Therefore, it is imperative that the projects are successfully and consistently delivered to time, cost and quality, whilst maintaining safety at all times.
  • Delivery of capacity and competency into product development, product delivery and service delivery (all Engineers).
  • Accountable for the ‘health of the design community’, providing the capabilities - design excellence, digital engineering, standards, procedures, methods, processes, tools, people (who and how) - to enable design/product development, product delivery and service delivery (what and when).
  • Use MI (Management Information) to maintain oversight of and report on the health of the communities (capacity and competence), reporting on distribution of resources and any gaps in supply against demand, the health of standards, processes and compliance with Site Licence Conditions, the progress and effectiveness of engineering/safety case improvements. It would also have oversight and report on the assurance of design output quality, identifying trends or looking for root cause analysis for adverse trends.
  • Accountable for people and competency/skills development and transformation. Responsible for the engineering and safety functional capability/skills strategy.
  • Accountable for all technical solutions and designs (equipment, products, systems and component level).
  • Influencing and collaborating with the Head of Technology in the separate R+T function with regards to the technology strategy and budget to deliver the necessary technologies and skills to maintain competitiveness.
  • Deliver continuous improvement within projects by challenging barriers to effective delivery.
  • Accountable for requirements management - processes/governance/reporting.
  • Managing the successful implementation and embedding of transformational change.
  • Foster a culture of a delivery service mindset, promoting excellent results, learning from and helping each other.
  • Champion the people agenda - develop, coach and mentor emerging talent, whilst ensuring key roles are clearly defined in line with company strategy and staffed by capable, motivated individuals. Identify hi-potentials.
  • Foster a culture of creativity and open interaction, leading to high employee and customer satisfaction.
  • Ensure effective management of regulatory and legislative changes that effect the organisation.

The Candidate
  • Demonstrable engineering design/safety strategy and leadership experience, from a commercial large-scale international complex and programme-led environment, or security/highly regulated environment. Not necessarily from Nuclear, will consider an adjacent industry, such as Aerospace & Defence, Oil & Gas, Infrastructure, Pharmaceutical and Chemicals.
  • Highly commercial with a self-driven entrepreneurial spirit, capable of operating effectively in a large corporate matrix environment.
  • Demonstrable track record of challenging the status quo, comfortable with a high degree of ambiguity and delivering change/transformation.
  • Politically and culturally well experienced.
  • Experience of team organisational design, continuously assessing and developing the team's skills and capabilities, as well as the processes and capacity to deliver the overall engineering design and safety strategy.
  • Entrepreneurial mindset and curiosity. Evidence of continuously evaluating market perception/external benchmarks/thought leadership/wider market context/best practices.
  • Is ‘future focused’. Knows what the future of design and what ‘good looks like’.
  • A skilled communicator who is effective at engaging and co-ordinating multi-disciplined resource, both internally and externally, with highly developed stakeholder engagement skills.
  • Knowledge of process engineering and LEAN principles, theory of constraints strategies, through lifecycle understanding.
  • Low cost/offshore engineering and capability development is an advantage.
  • Experience of successfully managing teams across multiple plants/sites (remote management), proven track record of team leadership/capability development (succession planning), applying strategies for competency management (excellence), efficient utilisation of resources (productivity).
  • Excellent presentation and engaging skills, able to make powerful arguments and persuade both visually, in documents, and orally.
  • Good understanding of the importance of integrating manufacturing, construction and commissioning functions into the evolving design.
  • Good knowledge of 3D modelling techniques and spatial integration tools and their importance in minimising construction risks.
  • A strong people leader with an ability to win hearts and minds in a complex stakeholder environment; a team player who works with colleagues across all levels and functions to achieve win/win.
  • An inspirational and motivational individual able to manage and develop high calibre individuals.
  • Comfortable with a high degree of ambiguity and embraces change.
  • Thrives on problem solving challenges to understand the root cause of failures and strongly believes in the power of improvements in all areas of the business.
  • Highly commercial with a self-driven entrepreneurial spirit, capable of operating effectively in a large corporate environment.
  • ‘Big picture thinking’ - able to identify the issues critical to success.
  • Seeks to create mutually acceptable value adding solutions with diplomacy, tact and respect.
  • Takes actions without waiting for direction and has a proactive approach to problem solving.
  • Graduate or equivalent in relevant engineering discipline. Chartered Engineer and Fellow status required.

For an informal and confidential discussion, please speak with Katie Poxon at Berwick Partners:

Mobile: +44 7866 010 773



Closing date for applications: 1st March at 12pm

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