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International Day Of Women And Girls In Science: Supporting Inclusive Employment Practices

11th February 2020

The 11th of February 2020 marks the 5th International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Founded in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, the day recognises the critical role that women and girls have in science and technology advancement, and the need to encourage more girls into science subjects through raising awareness and initiatives.

At Lucion, we are proud to be raising awareness about the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. As part of our own initiatives to encourage more women into the environmental sciences industry, we are linking up with community engagement schemes and supporting the promotion of STEM subjects in schools across the UK. We have already worked with Lendlease to deliver workshops at Manchester Islamic High School for Girls and Manchester Academy on challenging stereotypes in STEM careers.

“I am proud to promote this initiative, that each year takes the opportunity to highlight the low representation of females studying science or working in scientific roles and to actively address improving gender diversity in this sector globally.

At Lucion, we would like to encourage more females to join us and I interviewed two of our team members, Cheryl & Lavinia on their career journey.” Sarah Taylor, Chief People Officer, Lucion Services.

Sarah linked up with a couple of our female team members to find out what spurred them to enter into a career in the environmental science sector.

Asbestos Surveyor

Lavinia Mihai – Asbestos Analyst, London

Lavinia joined the Lucion team as an asbestos analyst in January 2019. Holding over 10 years of experience in environmental assessment, and having earned both a Bachelor of Science degree as a Petrochemical Engineer and a Masters of Science in Chemistry and Quality Management for Consumer Products and Environmental Protection, Lavinia brings a wealth of wider industry experience to her role. During her time with Lucion, Lavinia has achieved her P403 and P404 qualifications.

What first interested you in entering a career in Science?

At high school, I started to prepare myself for medical school by taking intensive classes in Chemistry and Biology.  However, during that time I soon realised that I couldn’t cope with the sight of blood, so medical school was out of the question. In year 10 we had a wonderful professor of organic chemistry who would speak with such passion about all the chemical processes that take place in nature. For example, the chemical reactions that take place when a plant grows from a bulb to a plant, how the light will affect photosynthesis, etc, and about all the transformations of the natural chemical aromas from a coffee bean until it ends up as coffee. This inspired me and I later went on to study Petrochemistry, Physics & Chemistry applied in environmental protection.

Why did you choose the Asbestos Risk Management sector?

I think the asbestos sector chose me. I had been working in environmental protection since I’d graduated and asbestos pollution is an important part of the wider environmental sector.

Why did you choose Lucion?

I read about Lucion Environmental  online whilst looking for a career that related with my experience and, fortunately, I had a chance to apply for a role where I could start from the beginning as a trainee analyst and receive full training on the job in order to build up a career and at the same time give back something from my experience.

How have you been supported since joining?

I don’t think that during this time I have had a question that wasn’t responded to immediately and with a great deal of detail.  I passed P403 and P404 exams with all the knowledge already built up before taking the courses. It’s a great team!

What do you most enjoy about your role?

My role as an asbestos analyst makes me feel energised because I am working in a busy environment. I am also learning all the time.  

I face a lot of different situations that need quick responses and actions. Most of all I get a chance to meet a diverse range of people with different backgrounds and even greater life stories.

What would you say to girls or women considering a career in science?

As I have previously worked in a laboratory, I remember how satisfied I was when my GC-MS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry) identified pollutants from water samples. This moment of discovery, for me, was both important and significant. Not the fact that this water sample evidenced pollution, as it wasn’t great news to give it to the client, but that the information they received from my reading allowed them to take action.  Science can facilitate your chance to make a real difference every day, whilst experiencing a fulfilling career.

Never stop looking for challenges and never fear the unknown – science will solve everything!

Asbestos Surveyor

Cheryl Watson – Dual Trained Lead Asbestos and Hazardous Materials Surveyor/Analyst, Scotland

Following a career in environmental testing and inspection, Cheryl joined Lucion in 2007. During her career, Cheryl has achieved her P402, P403, and P404. 

Cheryl has carried out a vast array of survey and air monitoring works in domestic, commercial and industrial environments. Cheryl is a highly experienced site surveyor and analyst who has conducted air monitoring, SEM and clearance testing during asbestos remediation work on all types of licensed asbestos-containing materials. She has also regularly carried out fuel sampling on various vessels around Scotland which requires a security clearance and augmented safety training.

During her remote working throughout the Scottish region, Cheryl is known for photography skills, capturing her Lucion van in remote places including the Outer Hebrides.

What first interested you in entering a career in Science?

After completing my first year of nursing, I realised that it wasn’t for me so I entered into the sciences by changing my degree subject to Forensic Science and Technology, at the age of 28. 

Why did you choose the Asbestos Risk Management sector?

Prior to joining Lucion, I completed an asbestos awareness course at my previous job and it caught my interest, I wanted to find out more about it.  Not long after, a job post for a Site Technician role came up in the Glasgow office and I took a leap of faith.

Why did you choose Lucion?

The Lucion group were, and still are, at the forefront of the surveying game, and are leading the way in the UK for SEM air testing.  Lucion was founded and built from the ground up by two people. Despite the company’s growth, Lucion continues to have that family feel.

How have you been supported since joining?

I received a lot of support during my on-site training and have since been put forward for, and completed, my certifications for P402, P403, and P404.  I have a fantastic support network from other colleagues and my line manager within the office, even if I needed help with something non-work related I know I can turn to the team for advice and even just a chat.

What do you most enjoy about your role?

Every day is different. I get to travel around our amazing country and meet people from all walks of life, from removals contractors and homeowners/tenants to compliance officers and project managers. I am also lucky enough to carry out Sulphur analysis with the MCA which sees me attend various vessels such as massive tankers, cruise ships and fishing boats. It’s a fabulous way to meet people from around the world.

What would you say to girls or women considering a career in science?

Do it! This is the most rewarding job I have ever done, I enjoy it every day. We need more women in science.  There are so many roles out there, what’s to stop you! Be your fabulous self in science. 

Sarah Taylor added “As a predominantly male-led industry, we have made it part of our mission to ensure we actively encourage more women and girls into science.

Whether you are experienced or looking to get your foot in the door, Lucion can help you into a career in science. Click here to view our current vacancies and apply for your next career today.”

Asbestos Jobs

Supporting Women And Girls In Science

Spurred by The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) the International Day of Women and Girls in Science proclaimed with the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations state that such International Days helps to “educate the general public on issues of concern, to mobilise political will and resources to address global problems and celebrates and reinforce the achievements of humanity.”

You can support this worthy cause and help underprivileged girls access education, resources, funding, and scholarships by donating to the Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT) here.

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