Abdoune Didine, you have worked on different assignments in your career up to now in Africa, North Africa, China, UK, Netherlands and France. What is your motivation for so many moves?
If one wants to build a rich and diverse working experience, it is important not to be afraid to move! And when you build your experience, you build yourself and you learn to understand faster each situation and to be more open to others.
How many languages do you speak?
I’ve always found that speaking a language, enough to communicate, is the key to convincing people you are willing to make an effort to understand their culture. I speak English and French, Finnish and Dutch and have some mastery of Turkish, Chinese and Swedish.
What are your observations about working in so many culturally different environments?
Every time, you have to create a relation of trust and understand the working culture. You have to convince people of your own worth and only then is it possible to create a good team spirit and get the best out of everyone. So it is important to be humble. I also found that accepting the cultural differences rather than trying to erase them is for me the key to be quickly able to work within any organisation. It is true everywhere, but nowhere is it truer than China.
You have had two assignments in China across twenty years, what do you think when you compare your first and your second experience?
I am truly impressed by the way the Chinese nuclear industry and the people making it grow in China have evolved in that time. The speed at which the skills have been acquired is incredible.
Anywhere! As long as it is a challenge!
Thomas Thor contributed to supporting the Hinkley Point C project via Abdoune Didine’s placement.