A former engineering student is forging ahead with his career and already heads up a £1m division at a company which specialises in cleaning up decommissioned nuclear sites.
Clowne-based hydraulics supplies specialist Penny Hydraulics and Sheffield Hallam University signed a unique knowledge transfer partnership - a part-funded government venture to encourage businesses and universities to work together - and engineering graduate Simon Pykett was assigned to work for the firm.
The company has secured new contracts worth around £400, 000 jointly and is now regarded as a key player in cleaning up decommissioned nuclear sites around the UK.
Robin Penny, managing director at Penny Hydraulics, said: “Guidance from Sheffield Hallam in the recruitment process was paramount in ensuring that we acquired the best candidate for the job.”
Through networking, Simon sought to establish a presence in the nuclear power community and arranged audits with commissioning organisations.
This led to a successful tender to design and supply equipment capable of handling waste storage cells at Sellafield in Cumbria.
Delivering the £160, 000 project involved researching and developing the capability to lift, handle and manoeuvre spent nuclear fuel.
The company became a quality assured supplier to Sellafield, 12 months ahead of target.
Further contracts in the nuclear industry followed, beginning with a £240, 000 contract to design and install a fuel element debris handling facility at Bradwell Nuclear Power Station in Essex.
The company is now a Tier 2 supplier to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which enables it to tender directly to the site licence companies responsible for decommissioning and clean-up at 17 nuclear sites around the UK.
Jessica Penny, general manager of sales at the firm, said: “The university has provided and continues to provide excellent support.”
Richard Short, sales director, praised Simon and added: “He had a huge impact on Penny Hydraulics’ nuclear business and secured a permanent role on completion of the KTP.
“He now heads up the Penny Nuclear Division, which has expanded rapidly and turns over more than £1m per year.”