Xccelerator secondments: Our time with Full Circle 21

Milena Zagulak and Rebekah Henderson

In our latest blog, xccelerator’s Milena Zagulak and Rebekah Henderson are sharing insight into their secondment experience with Full Circle 21 which aims to make the renewables sector a diverse, inclusive and great place for everyone to work.  

A key element of our skills programme is to provide real-life hands-on experience, and this blog will touch on what the two secondees have learned during their time.  

Milena Zagulak is a graduate mechanical engineer with specialisation in subsea systems. Alongside university, Milena gained extensive experience in commercial roles in various energy startups and non-profit organisations.  

Rebekah Henderson graduated with a BSc and MSc in Product Design and was in the first cohort that joined X-Academy in 2022. 

Working as part of a team based around Scotland, both xccelerator’s gained key skills working with the company. Rebekah said: “We have learned a lot about diversity and inclusion (D&I) in Scotland, which is extremely important to us as young woman in the energy sector. Full Circle 21 aims to connect with individuals to help them start, stay, or transition into the net zero sector, regardless of their background.” 

Giving back to D&I: 

As part of Milena’s experience with the organisation she was able to use what she had learned at university and combine it with her secondment to understand how to take an idea and develop it into a business proposal with her production of the programme.  

“With a complex topic such as diversity and inclusion (D&I), getting the right messaging and information is extremely important. I was asked to develop a business plan for the organisation and look for ways to engage with Full Circle 21 members. I conducted a membership survey to learn more about what topics and types of activities supporters would like to see more of. 

“This fed into the idea and development of a Full Circle Journey Programme, a D&I self-development course delivered by the company, industry experts and its partners. I developed the idea into two parts, an introductory “Let’s explore…” segment, focusing on exploring key principles of D&I and their practical applications in a workplace, and an advanced "Let's dive deeper..." section, which continues the development journey through exploration of more vulnerable and ambivalent topics such as microaggressions and conflict, communication, and bias.” 

As an ongoing secondee, Rebekah is using her background and skills to further her experience in organising events and in creating and sending out newsletters to members. 

“Once the programme was set-up, I have continued to develop this idea to deliver the official Full Circle 21 newsletter created around key topics and to communicate the latest updates to the members of the group. I created the content to share updates about the programme, information about upcoming events, recommendations of interesting books and podcasts relevant to D&I. 

“Something I also enjoy is organising webinars, events, and training to achieve the goals of the programme. I’m currently looking to create a CV and interview top tips workshop to help people on both side of the table with how to prepare for interviews and ensure you can feel confident when submitting CVs to jobs.” 

For both xccelerators, supporting a membership group like Full Circle 21 is extremely important to achieving net zero goals. With the purpose being to bring D&I to the sector, this secondment has allowed both to be part of this change as it has a direct impact on energy professionals through what they have delivered. 

Reflecting on her journey with the company, Milena said: “The secondment experience was a great opportunity to ‘give back’ to the D&I community in the energy sector – something I am passionate about. We both have enjoyed working with team and would recommend the group to any energy professional.  

“The support can help you streamline not only your success but also aid in the battle with the climate crisis and development of the net zero sector.” 

Full Circle Founder and Managing Director of Opergy, Isla Robb, shared her thoughts on the secondment experiences: “The xccelerators from X-Academy have been fantastic.  

“It’s a great opportunity to access young, enthusiastic talent, with the confidence that they are being supported from within the initiative. Having the flexible resource has been a real benefit because Full Circle 21 is still developing and is starting to understand the amount of work we need to do.” 

Share this article