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Mandy Swan – Employee at Dounreay Nuclear Power Station, Thurso Scotland



When Windmills and Mandy Swan first met she had worked at Dounreay Nuclear power station for 20 years in a technical role that wasn’t allowing her to reach her full potential and – despite being a Union Learning Rep – was still ‘completely disillusioned with the day-job’.  Mandy had worked hard for 5 years to achieve a degree in psychology but was finding it difficult to get opportunities to make the most of her new qualifications.  She couldn’t see herself heading anywhere so had ‘resolved myself to boxing off work as just money provision separate from all other aspects of my life’.



Mandy grasped the opportunity to attend the first 2-day Windmills Change Management Programme designed to help people to start thinking about the closure process at Dounreay, its implications professionally and its impact both personally and on the wider locality.


As the Union Learning Rep she hoped she would be able to give members advice on what was being offered and on a personal level that it would broaden her experience away from the technical roles she had been in previously.  For Mandy the workshops developed into a ‘life-changing, wake-up call / turning point for me.’  She became more positive and confident about what she wanted to do with the rest of her life and told us that in ‘the space of a few weeks I have personally challenged a lot of my previous attitudes and behaviours, and as a result have actively made changes to both my work and family life.’


Following further training from Windmills, Mandy went on to become a Windmills Champion, secured a 2 day week secondment in the first instance to Training and Development at Dounreay and played an important role in supporting the roll out of the Windmills Programme to other staff at the site.


Further support from Windmills and experience as a Champion allowed Mandy to gain confidence in how best to use the Windmills materials and develop her facilitation skills.  Mandy herself reflected that most importantly she learned how ‘to present oneself in a non-judgemental way and allow the group to develop solutions from within.’  




Such was her success in the Windmills Champion role that Mandy was offered a full time permanent position in the Dounreay’s training and development function.  Mandy contributed to the wider development of Windmills in her role as a Champion by getting involved in the piloting and review of different Windmills resources including No Regrets on Sunday .  Her support as a Windmills Champion at the Caithness and Sutherland I-hero event organised by Careers Scotland won her and her colleagues the Business Partnership Excellence Award.


More recently Mandy has in her words ‘taken control’ and chosen to leave Dounreay on early release terms offered under the site’s planned closure programme.  When she first told us about her decision she was ‘looking forward to being a full-time Mum, house-wife and ‘new puppy’ walker for a while’.’

However as might have been expected within a few months she has already completed several modules towards her EDCL, has a part time job as a Job Club Coordinator and is starting a new training course to prepare her to be a ‘Lighterlife’ counsellor.

For Mandy her Windmills experience has been ‘inspiring’ and she continues to encourage herself and others to ‘explore how to make yourself happy and more fulfilled – more of the time.’


If you would like to know more about this type of support and how you can access this then please contact us.