A leading Cumbrian engineer is encouraging more women to join her in the industry.
Shiby Bernard, of McMenon Engineering Services in Workington, hopes her story can inspire the next generation of women to step forward in West Cumbria.
On Internnational Women in Engineering DAy, Shiby, chief operations officer, said she was keen to see more women believe in themselves and pursue their dreams and step into what may have once been a man’s world.
McMenon held its first ever Girls in Engineering Day this year, hosting students from several local secondary schools in a bid to inspire more females into the profession – something that will now be an annual event due to its success.
The company has also taken part in a range of Inspira-led events in schools such as World of Work days and mock interviews in addition to working with the local colleges to encourage apprentices.
“I hope when those girls and women see females in leadership positions and in engineering roles, that helps them to believe in themselves,” she said.
“If we can play even a small part in encouraging them to step up into engineering by providing these events and interaction then that will be fantastic. Have the confidence to pursue your dreams and carve out the career you choose. There are so many options open to you, just believe in yourself and stride forward.”
The past couple of years have not been easy on anyone – as McMenon has had to battle both the effects of the COVID pandemic and the obstacles of Brexit.
But Shiby, a founding partner and board member of McMenon, said: “McMenon remained open through the pandemic, not only as a safe working environment but also one that protected the livelihood of its employees.
“Our focus was on ensuring business continuity with safe operations as per government guidelines. We acted ahead of the curve, planning and implementing appropriate measures even before any government guidelines were published.
“There were no redundancies and, we ensured the majority of staff continued working with full remuneration with only a small minority furloughed owing to absolute business necessity.”
She was a key part of the McMenon team who developed a joint venture with fellow SME TIS Cumbria to form the North West Energy Coast Alliance, which was accepted onto the PPP framework at Sellafield.
NWEC was named alongside a handful of other firms to deliver Fabricated and Manufactured Equipment packages for the projects, a framework agreement for an initial three years, worth up to £20m – a major step forward for McMenon’s diversification plans.