The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge

Reducing emissions to save the planet

Nicola McCheyne is exploring how the future of Home Energy Management, the way energy is generated and managed in the home, and the electrification of mobility will merge.

The UK is aiming to become a world leader in the way people, goods and services move in the future. Automation, electrification and demand-led transport services promise to improve safety, reduce emissions and improve user experiences. 

The opportunity in this area is huge, and the Government is targeting support for these industries through the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, as part of the modern Industrial Strategy.

In our interview, Nicola explains how her love of STEM subjects has helped forge her career. 

How did you get into engineering?

I knew from a fairly young age that I wanted to go into engineering. I can trace this back to a science lesson in Year 6 when we were taught about energy resources and generation. I loved maths and physics at school and was fascinated with how they could be used to solve every day problems.

I went on to study mechanical engineering at university and after graduation secured my first career role working as an energy advisor, developing new energy projects. After that I worked as a senior manager for an energy focused social enterprise which gave me the chance to get involved in energy projects across the south of England.

I’m very lucky that my career has given me fantastic opportunities to work at the forefront of engineering innovation, from designing the Centrica Local Energy Market project in Cornwall, to leading the development of future energy businesses, products and services through Centrica Innovations.

What do you love most about your job?

I get to work with some of the best technology and energy entrepreneurs around. Working at Centrica Innovations means I can help businesses build their ideas and insight into services that are changing the way we interact with the world around us.

In my role I get to work with companies that are driving social and environmental change, I’m proud to work with companies that have a social purpose.

My job, requires a broad range of skills, drawing on the maths and physics that I enjoyed at school, and using my managerial and business leadership experience, too.

What has inspired you the most in your career?

I’ve got to work at the forefront of the energy and technology sectors and have been part of some amazing projects that have been disruptive and challenged the status quo. One of these projects was the Cornwall Local Energy Market – a pioneering project that has designed the first Distribution Network Operator (companies licensed to distribute electricity in the UK) flexibility market in the UK, testing the use of energy generation and storage across both the domestic and business sectors.

What advice would you give someone who is new to the sector?

Don’t be afraid of getting things wrong and taking a new approach to how you work. One of the most exciting things about my job is that I have flexibility in how I tackle my day-to-day workload.

Creativity is encouraged and it’s great to have freedom to try new methods, work with new businesses and tackle challenges as a team. Of course, sometimes things don’t go to plan, but this is where you can learn the most and build your experience.

Find out more

Find out more about what the Government is driving towards by reading the Industrial Strategy.

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