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Inclusive Futures: Exploring STEM Careers

 Exploring STEM Careers - 27th - 28th February

Inclusive Futures: Exploring STEM Careers is a dynamic and informative two-day event focused on inclusivity in STEM careers. Whether you are a student of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) or a non-STEM student interested in a STEM sector career, we aim to give you the inside knowledge on exploring STEM careers in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and help you to take your first steps to shaping the future through careers in STEM. Through our comprehensive programme of inspirational talks, Inside Story panel sessions, and No Limits inclusivity sessions, we hope to break down barriers and empower our diverse OU students from all backgrounds to thrive in the world of STEM. 

The Careers and Employability Team has assembled an excellent selection of resources for all STEM students. These resources will complement the sessions at the Inclusive Futures event, expand on those showcased during sessions, and offer more support.

*Update: The links below will now take you to a recording of the event!

Tuesday 27th February

Opening keynote speech: "The Treasure Inside of You"

Title Presenter
Opening keynote speech: "The Treasure Inside of You" Lordwin Anim, Community Events Lead, Microsoft
Kickstart your STEM Career - Workshop

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Alexandra Hession, OU Careers and Employability Consultant

Rachel Jolly, OU Careers and Employability Consultant

Mapping the STEM Careers Landscape - Workshop

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Fiona Munday, OU Careers and Employability Consultant
Inside Computing, Technology and Digital Careers - Employer Panel

Julie Crone, Talent Acquisition Leader, CME Group

Stevie Boyle, Head of Discipline for Cyber and Networks, Thales UK

Mark Bates, Early Careers Programme Manager, Nationwide

Conrad Langworthy, Head of Technology, Emerging Talent and Software Engineering Academy, Sky

Dr Ganiat Kazeem, Business Consultant & OU Alumni

Teresa Sides, OU PhD Student

No Limits with Disabilities - Enable Science

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Chantelle Minchin, Founder, Enable Science
Inside Geography, Environmental and Earth Sciences Careers - Employer Panel

Oliver Barnett, Director of Ecology, Mortimer Environmental

Maicon Fiuza, Talent Acquisition Lead, CGG

Chris Richards, Environmental Lead, Tata Steel & OU PhD Student

Lauren McConnachie, Associate GIS Technical Lead Manager, SLR Consulting

Dave Lewis, Director of Operations, Earth Trust

Inside Engineering Careers - Employer Panel

Jonathan Wilson, CE&I Engineering Placement, Sellafield & OU Student

Elizabeth Brogue, Early Careers Recruitment Advisor, Anglian Water

Emily Navidi, Engineering and Technology Graduate, Rolls Royce

David Boxall, Engineering Graduate, Rolls Royce

Abi Lamb, Network Adoption Manager, Last Mile

Samantha Veck, OU PhD Alumni

No Limits to Age or Experience - STEM Returners

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Natalie Desty, Founder and Director, STEM Returners


Wednesday 28th February

Opening Keynote speech: "Getting Innovative and Hands-on with Employability Skills"

Title Presenter
Keynote speech: "Getting Innovative and Hands-on with Employability Skills"

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Professor Nicholas Braithwaite, STEM Faculty Executive Dean
Developing Digital Skills - Cisco Networking Academy - Workshop

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Elizabeth Barr, Head of the Cisco Networking Academy UK & Ireland

James Whale, Site Reliability Engineer, Cisco

No Limits for Women, STEM Women

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Pam McGee, External Communications and Relationships Manager, STEM Women
Inside Biology, Chemistry, Health, and Natural Sciences Careers - Employer Panel

Marisa Loach, OU PhD Student

Lianne Wisbey, Inorganic Chemistry Team Leader, Thames Water

Lyndsay Davy, Inorganic Chemistry Technical Manager, Thames Water

Becki Watsonwa, Clinical Careers Programme Manager, Bupa

Jenny Hope, Lead Technical Scientist, Randox

Rachel Jones, Group Resourcing Business Partner, BBI Solutions

Inside Design and Innovation Careers - Employer Panel

Sam Osys, Customer Journey Framework Lead Consultant, NatWest and OU PhD Student

Rebecca Davies, Senior Recruiter, Arup

Darren Jones, CEO, Low Carbon Europe

Rachel Wood, Service Design Lead, Local Government and OU PhD Student

Gareth Thomas, Product Designer, XDesign

No Limits - Representation Matters, BB STEM (Black British Professionals in STEM)

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Dr Kayisha Payne, BEng (Hons), MSc, DSc, AMiChemE, Founder and Programme Director, BB STEM
Inside Mathematics and Statistics Careers - Employer Panel

Oscar Best, Mechanical Engineering Graduate, Babcock

Ben Bennett, Trainee Chartered Accountant, Moore Kingston Smith

Nayana Unnipillai, OU PhD Student

Richard Scott, Head of UK, Europe and Employers, Institute of Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)

Wendy Procter, Career Change Specialist, Now Teach

Inside Physics, Astronomy and Space Science Careers - Employer Panel

Sonia Beslika, OU Student Ambassador, Royal Meteorological Society (RMets)

Catherine Gregson, Thermal and Stress Engineering Leader, Airbus

Louise Dooley, Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Andor Technology

Raied Al-Wazzan, Principal Physicist, Andor Technology

Vincent Graves, OU PhD Student



Speakers (Day 1)

Photo of Lordwin Anim

Lordwin Anim

Community Events Lead, Microsoft

Meet Lordwin, a dedicated individual committed to helping others recognise their unique potential and value. With a background as a Community Events Lead and Social Impact Champion at Microsoft, alongside serving as an IT Consultant and Admin at his parents' Pre-School and Day Nursery, Lordwin is passionate about guiding individuals towards self-discovery. Through his expertise, he aims to empower others to unlock their gifts, offering valuable advice on development and distribution strategies to foster financial success and social impact. Connect with Lordwin today and embark on a journey towards realising your fullest potential.


Photo of Alexandra Hession

Alexandra Hession

OU Careers and Employability Consultant



Photo of Rachel Jolly

Rachel Jolly

OU Careers and Employability Consultant



Photo of Fiona Munday

Fiona Munday

OU Careers and Employability Consultant



Photo of Julie Crone

Julie Crone

Talent Acquisition Leader, CME Group

Julie Crone is a Talent Acquisition Leader with experience spanning many sectors over 20 years. She is responsible for driving recruiting programmes within the corporate space. This includes advising on strategy, organisational design, technology, employer branding, performance, governance, and end-to-end recruitment processes. Currently, Julie is the International Recruiting Director at CME Group, the world's leading and most diverse derivatives exchange. The CME Group is a global business with a presence in central Belfast since 2012. The Belfast office has around 350 employees including apprentices, placement students and graduates alongside their professional level employees.


Photo of Stevie Boyle

Stevie Boyle

Head of Discipline for Cyber and Networks, Thales UK

Steven Boyle is an OU alumnus who graduated from the OU in 1998 with his BSc (Hons) and has been working at Thales UK for nearly 38 years. Steven started off as in an apprenticeship as an Electronics Engineer and upon completing his apprenticeship he joined Thales’ IT department. He took on several roles including back-office administration and software engineering.

Like many OU students, Steven completed his degree while working at Thales. In 2000 he moved into a consultancy role at Thales and focused on Information Assurance and Risk Management. Then, in 2016 he set up a team which specialised in Operational Technology and was able to travel the world before taking over the Discipline Lead role for Cyber and Networks in 2023.


Photo of Mark Bates

Mark Bates

Early Careers Programme Manager, Nationwide

Mark is an Early Careers Programme Manager at Nationwide Building Society. He is a versatile change professional experienced in setting up high-performance learning and development teams, managing large corporate training projects, and implementing best-practice governance and quality assurance. Mark is passionate about coaching, mentoring, lifelong learning, and the use of technology to facilitate learning transfer (Learning transfer can be defined as the ability of a learner to successfully apply the behaviour, knowledge, and skills acquired in a learning event to the job, with a resulting improvement in job performance.). His most recent achievements include overseeing the implementation of a varied portfolio of programmes and projects and talent scheme at Nationwide. Mark is proud to champion inclusion and diversity.


Photo of Conrad Langworthy

Conrad Langworthy

Head of Technology Emerging Talent and Head of Software Engineering Academy, Sky

Conrad Langworthy is Head of Technology Emerging Talent and the Head of Software Engineering Academy at Sky, a position he has held since 2011. The Software Engineering Academy aims to support people from any background into starting a career in technology at Sky. This is achieved through outreach programmes, technology based graduate schemes, apprenticeships, summer placement opportunities, “Get into Tech” training courses, and personal restart programmes which are aimed at helping people with long term conditions restart their careers in technology.

Conrad is keen supporter of helping others develop their careers. He has developed a series of capabilities aimed at helping technologists cross-skill into roles that the technology sector finds difficult to recruit for. This programme utilises a broad spectrum of training & practical experience capabilities through Sky Learn, providing the opportunity to study for a level 5 and 6 computer science qualification whilst in the workplace and developing a promotion framework to enable people to be promoted into more senior roles.

Conrad has spent over 30 years working in the IT industry, in various roles including software developer, technical analyst and project manager for several consultancies and large organisations in the media, retail and banking sectors across the UK, US and Europe.


Photo of Dr Ganiat Kazeem

Dr Ganiat Kazeem

Business Consultant (OU PhD Alumni)

Dr Kazeem is an interdisciplinary academic with a background in natural science, computer science and business management and consulting. She holds a PhD in computing and communications from the Open University and an MSc in Information systems. She has over 15 years’ experience in consulting and conducting organisational research while applying systems thinking approaches in diverse organisations, including law enforcement agencies. Ganiat currently teaches in the Graduate Business School at University of Bedfordshire where she supports design, delivery, and management research-informed teaching, which is reflective of her knowledge and experience in ICT consulting and process management. She is also a member of the business and information systems research centre at Bedfordshire University where she advocates for interdisciplinary research that harnesses intersections between STEM and other disciplines.


Photo of Teresa Sides

Teresa Sides

OU PhD Student

Teresa Sides is a 3rd year post-graduate research student at The Open University exploring the attitudes of stakeholders across all organisational levels towards Artificial Intelligence (AI) for primary care. Teresa most recently worked for the NHS at a GP practice in Wales (2016-2021), and before that was a civil servant for the Department of Work and Pensions (2007-2016). Teresa's interest in computer science began with a Foundation degree, then Bachelor of Science at Wrexham University (2004-2007). Teresa then returned to Wrexham University 12 years later to complete a Master of Science (2019-2020).


Photo of Chantelle Minchin

Chantelle Minchin

Founder, Enable Science

Chantelle has 5 years of laboratory experience and currently works within the quality control department of a global intermediate and speciality chemical manufacturer. She credits The Open University with uncovering her passion for science and supporting her transition to a chemistry degree and career.

In response to prior experiences of disability discrimination in the workplace, Chantelle established a network for disabled scientists, Enable Science, in 2021. Enable science seeks to increase the representation of disabled scientists and to improve their sense of belonging.


Photo of Oliver Barnett

Oliver Barnett

Director of Ecology, Mortimer Environmental

Oliver is an alumnus of The Open University, who graduated in 2001 with a PhD in Ecological Genetics. Now, with over two decades of experience as an ecological consultant, Oliver has showcased his expertise by formerly leading one of the largest national teams of professional ecologists in the UK.

Now running his own Ecological Consultancy business, Oliver takes charge of work-winning initiatives, effectively managing and promoting projects of varying scales—from local residential development to major national infrastructure. His extensive experience and proficiency are further demonstrated through his ongoing involvement in ecological surveying. As a licensed bat surveyor, Oliver employs his surveying skills for various ecological assessments, including those related to bats, great crested newts, and badgers.

Complimenting his professional endeavours, Oliver currently serves as the co-convener of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management's (CIEEM) Ecological Restoration & Habitat Creation Special Interest Group, developing guidance for professionals in land use management designed to protect and enhance biodiversity in the UK.


Photo of Maicon Fiuza

Maicon Fiuza

Talent Acquisition Lead, CGG

With over a decade in diverse HR roles, Maicon has cultivated expertise in recruitment, onboarding, and employer branding, with an active involvement in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion discussions.

In his current role as a Talent Acquisition Lead, Maicon’s mission is to connect professionals with their dream jobs. He endeavours to provide a positive candidate experience and aligning skills seamlessly with hiring needs. His passion lies in innovative talent solutions, where he can leverage cutting-edge tech and data-driven strategies. Dedicated to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Maricon actively promotes awareness and contributes to the development of inclusive policies.


Photo of Chris Richards

Chris Richards

Environmental Lead, Tata Steel and OU PhD student

Chris Richards is currently a part-time PhD student with the OU’s Faculty of STEM in collaboration with The National Trust. His focus is on "Predicting the Resilience of Coastal Habitats to Climate Change”. He is also certified environmentalist, chartered waste manager, chartered health & safety practitioner, and ecologist (in-training).

Chris is also currently an Environmental Lead for Tata Steel UK, leading improvement strategies and projects across the UK. He also had experience implementing a wide rage of integrated management systems (IMS) such as Health and Safety, Asbestos, Environmental, Energy, Quality Management and even Fire Safety.

Chis studied BSc Exploration and Resource Geology at Cardiff University, received an MSc Environmental Management with The Open University, a Level 5 Diploma in Facilities Management and completed a NEBOSH National Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety.


Photo of Lauren McConnachie

Lauren McConnachie

Associate GIS Technical Lead Manager, SLR Consulting

Lauren is an Associate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst, fulfilling the role of technical delivery manager, with over 15 years of experience in GIS. She is involved in a broad range of projects and disciplines within SLR. Her work mainly involves team management: the overseeing of the GIS team regarding the delivery of their portfolio of work; efficiency of the team's work; innovative approaches and supporting the onboarding of new recruits. She is also involved in the production of technical figures for reports, data management and analysis. She utilises her skills and experience to support on and assist with big multidisciplinary projects.


Photo of Dave Lewis

Dave Lewis

Earth Trust - Director of Operations

Dave Lewis is the Director of Operations for Earth Trust. Earth Trust is a charity who seek to inspire people to address climate, biodiversity, and wellbeing with the power of natural green spaces. They own and manage the largest freely accessible green space in Oxfordshire, 530ha of land including woodland, farmland, wildflower meadows and wetlands. They have about 35 staff and 220 volunteers. Dave works with the team, staff, volunteers, and various stakeholders to help Earth Trust be the best organisation it can. He is responsible for thinking about what to do with visitor spaces, volunteering, staffing resource, systems, processes, IT, admin as well as construction and infrastructure projects.


Photo of Jonathan Wilson

Jonathan Wilson

CE & I Engineering Placement Sellafield

Jonathan is currently in an Industrial Placement student at Sellafield while he studies with The Open University. He is working as an Electrical, Control and Instrumentation Design Engineer placement with Sellafield. His role mostly involves projects within the Box Encapsulation Plant where he specialises in control systems, electrical engineering, and instrumentation in the nuclear industry.


Photo of Elizabeth Brogue

Elizabeth Brogue

Early Careers Recruitment Advisor – Anglian Water

Elizabeth is an Early Careers Recruitment Advisor with Anglian Water and has over four years’ experience in recruitment and more than 10 years in sales. Anglian Water Services is the largest water company by geographical region in the UK. At Anglian, Elizabeth is responsible for creating a strategic recruitment plan, timeline, supporting marketing an creating an interactive campaign across multiple platforms. She also facilitates multiple assessment centres across the region and attracts and engages with potential candidates on numerous apprenticeship, graduate, and placement opportunities within the organisation.


Photo of Emily Navidi

Emily Navidi

Engineering and Technology Graduate Rolls Royce

Emily Navidi is an engineering graduate with Rolls-Royce and is currently working on the latest Trent engines in the fleet. Emily graduated with her master’s in engineering from Oxford and hopes to use her degree to work on the novel low-carbon jet engine technology. Emily like to find opportunities to share her passion of STEM outreach and science communications through giving seminars and volunteering in schools.


Photo of David Boxall

David Boxall

Engineering Graduate, Rolls Royce

David Boxall recently graduated from the University of Southampton with an MEng in Aeronautics and Astronautics specialising in Spacecraft Engineering. Here he completed projects launching UAVs using rockets alongside doing some flying on the University Air Squadron. David is currently working within Defence at Rolls Royce Plc on the Engineering and Technology Graduate Programme. Within this role, David has completed a placement in Controls and is now on a Design and Make project for a test rig. He is also the Chair of the Apprentice Association, which focuses on supporting early careers alongside planning recreational events and activities for members.


Photo of Abi Lamb

Abi Lamb

Network Adoption Manager, Last Mile

Abi is a Network Adoption Manager at Last Mile Asset Management, with 7 years’ experience in clean water distribution. Her role involves checking designs submitted by Self Lay Providers to ensure they meet company and regulatory standards, as well as managing processes across water asset adoption. Her most recent achievement has been gaining her CIWEM chartered member status and she continues to promote professional development across the business. Abi has had a lot of involvement in Last Mile Asset Management’s new Graduate Programme and has been included on several graduate days across England and Scotland.


Photo of Samantha Veck

Samantha Veck

OU PhD Alumni

Dr Samantha Veck is an Assessment Technology Engineer with EDF Energy developing defect tolerance assessment techniques for the nuclear industry. She has prior experience in aerospace, defence and high containment facility project management and maintenance techniques. After being introduced to the concept of structural integrity assessment during a BEng with The Open University, Samantha decided to pursue a career in this area. A PhD with The Open University investigating residual stress characterisation improvement provided a perfect opportunity to develop the theoretical knowledge and research skills required for a career solving structural integrity challenges.


Photo of Natalie Desty

Natalie Desty

Founder & Director, STEM Returners

Natalie Desty is the Founder and Director of STEM Returners, an award-winning solution to an industry wide problem. After building a progressive career in recruitment, where she was Director of Maritime Engineering at a large recruitment company, Natalie was struck by the apparent lack of progress in diversity and inclusion within STEM industries. She was particularly concerned by the insurmountable barriers that people who have had a career break face, when wanting to return to STEM roles. Natalie created a small pilot returners programme for a group of employers, which was a resounding success. Natalie has developed this programme into STEM Returners, which has supported hundreds of people to restart their careers in internationally renowned organisations such as BAE Systems, SSE and Leonardo UK. Returners take part in paid placements, enabling STEM leaders to access the best available talent, and in doing so, improve diversity and inclusion within their organisation. Ninety six percent of returners secure a permanent position within the host organisation following the placement.


Speakers (Day 2)

Photo of Professor Nicholas Braithwaite

Professor Nicholas Braithwaite

OU Faculty of STEM Executive Dean

Nicholas Braithwaite is Professor of Engineering Physics and the present Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) at the Open University. Since joining the OU as a Lecturer in 1987 he has held significant academic leadership roles and has been a member of the Vice Chancellor's Executive since 2019.

Nicholas has over 40 years of experience in higher education, online teaching, and research with a focus on electrical engineering and physics. He has made major contributions to a wide range of OU modules in engineering and science. He enjoys the challenge of teaching in general, especially topics relating to classical physics, electronics, electricity and magnetism and remains an enthusiastic face-to-face teacher, he has actively developed alternative modules for teaching practical science at a distance.

Founder of the multi-award winning OpenSTEM Labs he was awarded the 2020 Lawrence Bragg Gold Medal from the Institute of Physics for recognition of his outstanding contribution to practical science. In 2023 the OpenSTEM Labs were honoured with a Queen's Anniversary Prize, the highest national Honour awarded in UK further and higher education.


Photo of Elizabeth Barr

Elizabeth Barr

Head of the Cisco Networking Academy UK & Ireland

Elizabeth leads the Cisco Networking Academy programme in the UK & Ireland. The Cisco Networking Academy is Cisco's largest and longest running CSR programme, having reached over 20 million learners in 190 countries since programme inception in 1997. In her role, Elizabeth manages an ecosystem of 350+ organisations, including schools, charities, and prisons, to drive high performance standards and grow the programme by exploring untapped market opportunities.

Elizabeth is passionate about making the tech industry a more diverse and inclusive space. She is a Board Member for Women of Cisco, where she leads the STEM outreach pillar, and previously sat of on the Board for the Global Women's Leadership Programme at Bayes Business School. She also regularly volunteers on programmes that inspire students to pursue STEM subjects and careers and is spearheading several related initiatives through the Cisco Networking Academy.


Photo of James Whale

James Whale

Site Reliability Engineer, Cisco

James is a Site Reliability Engineer for Cisco's IT infrastructure following an internship as a Network Engineer at the company. During his time at university, multiple classes were taught via Cisco NetAcad courses, exposing him to networking technologies and Cisco products. He now works with enterprise grade Cisco hardware, maintaining and troubleshooting the core network to ensure smooth business operations globally.

Alongside daily work, James also volunteers with other Cisco employees, outreaching with a goal of demystifying IT misconceptions. The group organises and volunteers for workshops and sessions, highlighting the importance of diversity in the workplace, and that IT requires both technical and non-technical people to function effectively.


Photo of Pam McGee

Pam McGee

External Communications and Relationships Manager, STEM Women

STEM Women host networking and careers events for students and graduates who identify as women or non-binary and are interested in STEM industries. The events allow the STEM Women student and graduate community to connect with leading employers, listen to inspirational role models and apply for opportunities. They're proud to contribute to a more diverse STEM workforce of the future. As External Communications and Relationships Manager at STEM Women, Pam works with universities, careers services, student societies and alumni to develop partnerships and to collaborate on employability-enhancing activities. Pam graduated from the University of Bristol and has since worked in a wide range of sectors including financial services, economic development, Higher Education, and careers & employability, specialising in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion.


Photo of Marisa Loach

Marisa Loach

OU PhD Research Student

Marisa is a second year PhD student in bioinformatics at the Open University. Her project involves reanalysing public data to ask new questions about how cells change in conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and ageing. She worked as a freelance writer for over a decade before returning to university and remains interested in science communication as well as her own research.


Photo of Lianne Wisbey

Lianne Wisbey

Inorganic Chemistry Team Leader, Thames Water

Lianne Wisbey did a HND Forensic Science and Psychology at Keele University. From there she picked up a temporary role with Thames Water in 2012 and never left! Lianne is currently an Inorganic Chemistry Team Leader. They are currently working towards their Chartership with the Royal Society of Chemistry and have completed two years towards a BSc in Natural Sciences (Chemistry) with the OU.


Photo of Lyndsay Davy

Lyndsay Davy

Inorganic Chemistry Technical Manager, Thames Water

Lyndsay Davy always knew their career would involve science. With a passion for the environment, they studied Environmental Protection: Pollution Control at Farnborough College of Technology. This degree blended the theory, law, and impact of pollution on the environment with practical aspects such as analysing emissions, water pollution and radioactivity.

After university, Lyndsay began their career at Southern Water as an Organic Chemistry Analyst. Lyndsay spent many years honing their skills and developing their methodologies and chemistries. Further work experience was gain at UKAS, who assess laboratories against accreditation standards.

In 2019, Lyndsay joined Thames Water as an Inorganic Chemistry Technical Manager.


Photo of Becki Watson

Becki Watson

Clinical Careers Programme Manager, Bupa



Photo of Jenny Hope

Jenny Hope

Lead Technical Scientist, Randox



Photo of Rachael Jones

Rachael Jones

Group Resourcing Business Partner, BBI Solutions

Rachael Jones is a Group Resourcing Business Partner for BBI Solutions and is a very passionate brand ambassador. Their mission statement is “we want everyone to have the opportunity for a better quality of life. You can make a tangible difference to people’s lives worldwide by joining our organisation” which is something that Rachael wholeheartedly agrees with.

Her experience crosses a range of sectors and recruiting for businesses of all sizes. Whilst she is a “data-driven” recruiter, she also enjoys being creative by designing new candidate attraction strategies, building marketing campaigns, and continually refreshing the recruitment process.

Rachael's current role sees her managing the end-to-end recruitment cycle with a strategic focus on DE&I to create a sustainable and world-class workforce. She works across all of BBI’s sites including the Global HQ in.


Photo of Sam Osys

Sam Osys

Customer Journey Framework Lead Consultant, NatWest and OU PhD Researcher

Sam is a seasoned Design Strategist with 17+ years of industry expertise. Working across diverse sectors, she excels in crafting Innovative solutions that drive measurable success for top-tier brands. Her forte lies in applying human-centred design principles, challenging norms, and invigorating underperforming areas.

Her skill set spans various design disciplines: design thinking, ethical decision-making, workshop facilitation, UX, service design, behavioural design, and more. Leveraging this diverse expertise, Sam brings a meaningful impact to every project and organisation.

Simultaneously pursuing a doctorate in design ethics at The Open University, Sam focuses on ethical decision-making in digital product design. As a PGR representative on the STEM Academic Committee, she actively shapes research and enhances the student experience.

Passionate about merging design practice with ethical digital decisions, Sam endeavours to promote responsible, user-centric practices, aiming for a positive impact and alignment with the highest ethical standards.


Photo of Rebecca Davies

Rebecca Davies

Senior Recruiter Arup

Rebecca Davies is a Senior Recruit at ARUP. She is an experienced Recruitment Manager with a background in Agency, Internal and RPO recruitment. Rebecca has a wide spectrum of experience, from managing high volume, temporary recruitment campaigns, to headhunting permanent candidate within niche technical markets. She also considers herself to have strong skills in early careers recruitment, team management, data driven recruitment metrics, Psychometrics, PSL negotiation, assessment centres and vendor management.


Photo of Darren Jones

Darren Jones

CEO, Low Carbon Europe

Dr. Darren Jones is a prominent professional in the field of energy management and sustainability, currently serving as the CEO of Low Carbon Europe Limited (LCE) and the Soutenu Group. As a Chartered Engineer with a wealth of expertise, he has played a pivotal role in transforming energy efficiency landscapes for various government and commercial entities.A Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (FCIBSE) and a Low Carbon Consultant (LCC), Darren contributes significantly to the professional development of others. He serves as a tutor for CIBSE and Eastwood Park Training delivering various courses related to building service systems and energy management. His dedication to education extends to being the first Accredited Air Conditioning Inspector in the UK.

Dr Darren Jones continues to contribute to the fields of building services design and energy management, combining academic rigor with hands-on expertise to lead the way towards a sustainable and low-carbon future.


Photo of Rachel Wood

Rachel Wood

Service Design Lead, Local Government and OU PhD Researcher

Rachel Wood is a current OUSTEM PhD research student in the School of Engineering & Innovation’s Design Group. Her research is focused on the service codesign of parenting education for women who have experienced the Criminal Justice System. Rachel has worked for over three and a half decades in public services in central and local government, and the charitable sector including a strategic partnership. The last 10 years have been dedicated to leading and coordinating service, organisational, and systemic designs across 50 projects. Rachel’s passions include the social value, benefits, and transformative power that design can bring to communities. As a disabled woman (her health condition affects her immunity and mobility) she prioritises inclusion, equity and accessibility in research and life.


Photo of Gareth Thomas

Gareth Thomas

Product Designer, XDesign

Gareth Thomas is a product designer at xDesign who began his journey in design after twelve years in quality assurance. He's worked with clients in public education, energy, sports, real estate, and pharmaceuticals, ranging in size from startups to large multinationals. He considers himself to be a generalist with a broad range of interests and skills across the discipline and is particularly interested in the role designers must play in shaping the near and far future of culture and society.


Photo of Dr Kayisha Payne

Dr Kayisha Payne

BEng (Hons) MSc, DSc AMIChemE - Founder & Programme Director BB STEM

Kayisha Payne began her Higher Education journey at Aston University where she read Chemical Engineering. She continued her education at Imperial College London, where she received a 'Masters' in Advanced Chemical Engineering. During Kayisha's time in industry, she has amassed experience in the Cosmetic Industry (COTY) as a Process Engineer, playing a key lead in bringing a very popular product to market. She also has Project Management experience working within the Pharmaceutical and Technology team at Mace and most recently was a Biopharmaceutical Process Development Scientist at AstraZeneca. Currently she is a Healthcare & Life Sciences Consultant at Alvarez & Marsal and the founder of a non-profit organisation named BBSTEM (Black British Professionals in STEM) who's aims are to increase the representation of Black British scientists and engineers in industry and in academia.

In 2018 she was recognised by the Financial Times as one of The Top 100 Most Influential BAME leaders in Diversity and Tech. In 2019 she was awarded the STEM Rising Star Award at The Black British Business Awards. In 2020 she was awarded one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering.


Photo of Oscar Best

Oscar Best

Mechanical Engineering Graduate, Babcock



Photo of Ben Bennett

Ben Bennett

Trainee Chartered Accountant, Moore Kingston Smith

Ben Bennett graduated from the University of Exeter in 2022 with a BSc in Mathematics. Currently, he is training to be an ACA qualified Chartered Accountant at Moore Kingston Smith, working in the audit sector. Day-to-day he works with mid-market, private, listed and PE-backed businesses.


Photo of Nayana Unnipillai

Nayana Unnipillai

OU PhD Researcher

Nayana Unnipillai is a PhD researcher currently working under the supervision of Dr. Fadlalla Elfadaly in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at The Open University (OU), UK. Prior to joining the OU, she served as the Statistical Investigator in the Department of Economics and Statistics for the Government of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, following her Masters from Central University of Punjab, India. With research interests spanning Bayesian Statistics, Distribution theory and Machine learning, her PhD project centres on developing tools for Multivariate Bayesian analysis with elicited priors. In essence, she’s working on methods and software to help individuals, even those without specialized statistical knowledge, make better decisions when dealing with multiple variables or factors in their data. Elicited priors, which involve gathering information from experts to establish initial beliefs, are a pivotal aspect of her research. The overarching goal is to enhance and streamline this process. By developing user-friendly tools and methods, she aims to empower researchers and experts across various fields to make more reliable and informed decisions when confronted with the need to consider multiple factors simultaneously. Her work has far-reaching applications in diverse areas, such as healthcare, finance, public policy, and environmental science, where decisions often hinge on complex sets of variables.


Photo of Richard Scott

Richard Scott

Head of UK, Europe and Employers, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)

Richard Scott has been involved with stakeholder relations and B2B business development for over 10 years, working within education, financial services, and government. As the Head of UK, Europe and Employers, Richard is responsible for the IFoA's relationships with employers globally, the strengthening of plans in the UK and activities across Europe. Richard is passionate about support young people in accessing the profession and unlocking where their passion for maths can take them.

The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) is the only chartered professional body dedicated to educating, developing, and regulating actuaries based both in the UK and internationally. The IFoA regulates and represents over 32,000 members worldwide, overseeing their actuarial education at all stages of qualification and development throughout their careers.


Photo of Wendy Procter

Wendy Procter

Career Change Specialist, Now Teach

Wendy is a motivated and highly organised Career Change Specialist who thrives on challenge and enjoys rewarding roles. With 20 Years in education as administrator, teacher, and classroom assistant as well as significant experience of recruitment, customer focus, social media marketing and finance she also adds an element of personal experience supporting career changers. After working in the leisure industry and as a university Senior Administrator she retrained as a primary school teacher working in both the UK and overseas in Service schools. On returning to UK she took up the position of Business Co-ordinator for a School Centred Teacher Training programme spending 8 years recruiting and retaining secondary school teachers. Joining Now Teach, in October 2022, she supports candidates looking to train as secondary school teachers as they enter a second career.


Photo of Sonia Beslika

Sonia Beslika

OU Student Ambassador, Royal Meteorological Society (RMets)

Sonia Beslika is a current OU student, studying towards a BSc in Mathematics after she took a career break to look after her family. Prior to beginning her OU studies she had studied the classics and worked in a school and a library. Sonia is also an ambassador for the OU of the Royal Meteorological Society (RMets). She has been a member for four years and enjoys being an ambassador so she can share how RMets supports those interested in career development through their student membership schemes, their open events and how they work with the OU.


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Catherine Gregson

Thermal and Stress Engineering Leader, Airbus

Catherine Gregson is a highly experienced Mechanical and Electrical Engineer with over a decade of delivering projects in both space and aerospace, her main technical specialisms are thermal and stress analysis. She has had a varied HE experience throughout her adult life starting with an HND in mechanical and manufacturing engineering in her teens, quickly followed by a BEng in Mechanical Engineering. Then working in the space and aerospace industry all around the country. Upon the arrival of a daughter, she retrained with the OU completing a PGCE in Design Technology Secondary Teaching, but after completing a decade of teaching technology and engineering, wanted to return to her first love – space - so she completed a year-long MSc in Space Engineering, which led to her current role in AIRBUS. The position has a focus on team wellbeing and development combined with strong technical leadership. Responsible for a diverse team of analysts supporting the design, manufacture, and validation of a wide variety of payload and spacecraft systems.


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Louise Dooley

Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist, Andor Technology

Louise Dooley is Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Andor Technology, part of Oxford Instruments. Louise has worked in recruitment in Northern Ireland for over 20 years in both public and private sector recruiting for roles across a range of disciplines. Louise spent three years at Queen’s University Belfast recruiting academics, postdocs and staff for the Schools within the Faculty of Medicine, Health, and Life Sciences. Louise has worked at Andor for almost three years recruiting for positions locally in Belfast headquarters but also, GB, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The type of positions Andor hire for include Physicists, Engineers, Operations, Supply Chain, Project Management, and support functions.


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Raied Al-Wazzan

Principal Physicist, Andor Technology

Raied is a highly experienced Principal Physicist with 33 years of work experience at Andor Technology, part of Oxford Instruments. Raied is a graduate of Queens University of Belfast and hold a MSc in Optoelectronics 1991 and PhD in Multi-channels detectors and laser spectroscopy 1996. Raied developed the first vacuum camera for Andor in 1998 and it was successfully used in space mission by the Japanese Space Agency. He possesses a wide range of skills including optics, physics, spectroscopy, Vacuum and Thermal management. Raied has published several scientific papers on camera applications and holds a patent on cooling scientific cameras to -100 degrees.


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Vincent Graves

OU PhD Researcher

Vincent Graves is a final-year physics PhD student studying radiation interactions with biomolecules and is developing as an independent researcher. On top of this, he also got the opportunity to complete a placement at a quantum computing start-up in their research department. As a result, he has first-hand experience in academia and industry as an early career researcher.


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