BGEN is committed to retaining female talent across the business, and our latest Rising Star has first-hand experience of this. Assistant Quantity Surveyor Sarah McLaughlin joined the company over a decade ago and, now that her children are a little older, she’s realising her dream of becoming a Quantity Surveyor.
Here Sarah shares her BGEN story, including her rise through the ranks, the support she’s received to do so and her experience of being a woman in engineering today.
Tell us a bit about how you came to join BGEN.
I joined the company back in 2011 as maternity leave cover at the Penketh office. The following year, I went on to become a Commercial Assistant and I was promoted to Assistant Quantity Surveyor, in the Technology team, earlier this year. I began my on-the-job training to obtain my first foundation level RICS qualification a few months ago and I’m loving it.
What is your current role?
At our Penketh workshop, we build switchboards and Motor Control Centres (MCCs) for a number of water companies, including Scottish Water and Anglian Water. We also work for non-water-based organisations including National Grid. I oversee the commercial aspects of these projects, as well as making sure that there is adequate support given to our project team and that we’re both productive and profitable.
How has BGEN supported your career progression?
BGEN was a fabulous employer when I was child-free, it was faultless during both pregnancies and maternity leaves, and it remains so today.
What is it like to be a woman in the engineering industry?
Women are still a minority within the industry, but I’m very happy to say that more are coming on board. In recent years, we’ve created a women’s forum to drive meaningful change across our business and we’ve signed up to the industry-backed ‘Inspiring Women in Construction and Engineering Pledge’ – playing our part in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.
And it’s working. I’ve noticed many changes over the years and I’m now working with more women engineers than ever. We employ several here at BGEN and, whilst we may not be able to redress the balance overnight, we’re certainly doing what we can to improve it.
What is the most important piece of advice you would give to a woman who is considering a career in engineering?
I’d encourage other women to stick at it and keep moving towards the careers they want. If you truly want a career in engineering, you’ll get there in the end. And also work for a company that supports you.
What’s the best thing about working at BGEN?
Without a doubt, the best thing about working at BGEN is the people. At Penketh, colleagues have a close-knit bond that spans many years and generations.
I’m second generation BGEN – my dad also works for the business – so I’ve grown up with the company. Many of our family friends are also BGEN through and through, which really does give the company a familial feel.
What BGEN has to say about Sarah.
“Sarah consistently demonstrates a positive can-do attitude to her work and always has the best interests of BGEN and our clients at the forefront of her actions. She’s a valued team member and is a pleasure to work with. I look forward to supporting Sarah with her continued development within the commercial team”Matt Stanley, BGEN commercial Manager
“Sarah possesses excellent communication skills, enabling her to effectively collaborate with colleagues and clients at all levels in the duties she carries out. Her proactive approach, enthusiasm and strong work ethic has also made her a trusted and highly valued member of the Technology commercial team”Collin Aspinall, BGEN Commercial Director