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Recipient of WINS Academy Scholarship Ms Furo Ebiere Eritei Speaks About Her Experience

Recipient of WINS Academy Scholarship Ms Furo Ebiere Eritei Speaks About Her Experience

Ms Furo Ebiere Eritei, a computer programmer at the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission, completed her Certified Nuclear Security Professional recertification with Nuclear Cyber Security as her elective at the WINS Academy after receiving a scholarship. Ms Eritei has received a scholarship four consecutive times, the third of which was through a sponsored programme with King’s College London, and the fourth was through a recommendation from a WINS Ambassador. Without the help of the scholarship, Ms Eritei would not have been able to participate in the WINS Academy programme.

WINS sat down with Ms Eritei to discuss her career trajectory, what she gained from the WINS Academy courses, as well as her thoughts on being a woman in her field.

1.) Why did you enrol in a WINS Academy learning programme?

As a new employee of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC), I underwent an induction course on Nuclear Science and Technology in 2011. This programme increased my awareness of the nuclear industry and its implications. I became acquainted with its dynamics, applications, hazards, risk management, waste management and repositories, nuclear safety standards and nuclear security, among more. I developed the desire to learn more after that programme but lacked the know-how. That is until 2015 when a colleague Dr Jafaru Egieya – who is also an alumni of the WINS Academy – introduced me to WINS, which is how I enrolled in the programme.

2.) How do you plan to use what you studied in the programme in your current role?

I am not able to use much of what I studied in the programme for now as the Nigeria power programme is at the preparatory stage and has yet to kick off. That said, I am able to proficiently contribute to issues relating to security and its ramifications in terms of policies and implementation at my centre, the Centre of Nuclear Energy Studies at the University of Port Harcourt.

3.) How do you think the programme can positively affect nuclear security professionals in your region?

The training programme can positively influence professionals in my region in several different ways as it has an integrated approach, making it quite extensive. It incorporates a broad scope of scenarios and paradigms that create awareness and facilitate competence and experience, preparing aspiring candidates for professional practice.

4.) What was the most rewarding thing about taking the WINS Academy course?

Knowledge. It creates awareness that gives you confidence and proficiency born out of experience. Once you’re proficient, you become confident. It enhances career progression so that you are motivated to move forward. Whenever nuclear security is talked about, I am able to stand tall without any fear.

5.) How has being a woman in the field affected your career?

The quest to fulfil all aspects of being a woman with a career has been – and continues to be – a major problem that affects both me and women in society at large. For instance, I have to fulfil my responsibilities as a wife and mother, so I have to take care of the home front, and I still have to work at the office with a certain level of concentration to avoid any mishaps. I am also faced with the issue of relating to and interacting with my male counterparts in the workplace, which is seen as improper for a married woman per African culture.

This is quite overwhelming and does not really allow for a suitable atmosphere required for the desired amount of dedication and time needed for proper career progression. However, it has become a routine rather than a restriction or hindrance as I still take the time out at night to meet my wishes in relation to my career.

6.) What advice would you give for other women either entering or already working in the sector?

I would strongly encourage them to exhibit passion for what they are doing as it is a legitimate career goal. In order to do this, it is important to recognise your capabilities, define your vision, and work hard to achieve this vision. It is also vital that you communicate openly with your colleagues so that you can get their opinions, which could teach you things that you may find quite useful.

I would also advise forming a board of advisors or mentors who can guide you through from time to time and to communicate openly with colleagues to learn new things that could be useful for your job. It’s also important to abstain from criticism and praise but be open to new ideas.

7.) How can gender parity benefit your field?

Gender parity will create a level playground for all to thrive by allowing women to have equal opportunities as men. In this way, it will reduce sexual harassment, intimidation and occupational segregation in the workplace.

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