From caving to inspection - life on the ropes

Tell us a little about your work and what it involves?

As a Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) Technician, I am part of a team which is involved with the inspection of the plant and structural aspects of mainly offshore assets to help maintain their integrity. The work is usually part of planned inspections of certain pipelines or structural items e.g topsides, flares, jackets or inside legs of platforms. The work involves extensive visual inspection, NDT procedures and the production of reports.

Why did you choose the career path you have?

I left school after O levels to begin an apprenticeship as a technician at Cambridge University, and was able to then go on to do a degree in Biology. I enjoyed my time working in research but wanted a role where I could use my scientific knowledge and balance it with my love of the outdoors. Adding rope access made sense as I‘d been caving for over 20 years.

Did you have any particular influencers that encouraged you into a STEM career?

My bosses in academia were always supportive and they encouraged me to leave my research job to do a degree. Within the offshore environment, I have found a lot of support.

What’s the best thing about working in a STEM role?

I find working within a scientific discipline stimulating and varied.

One of the proudest moments of my career is being part of the the topsides team on the Brents. The Brent Alpha management actually put in a special recognition to Bilfinger for our good performance.

I was also published as a co-author on some scientific papers whilst working at Leeds University, which I take great pride in.

Why is it important for us to celebrate women engineers?

It is always worth highlighting the efforts and contributions of women to any role, especially within an engineering environment.

What would be your advice to young girls considering a career in engineering?

Don’t be afraid to give it a try. There are so many different aspects and challenges within engineering, so there‘s bound to be something that they find interesting.

Name: Mandy Fearnehough

Job title: Rope Access NDT Technician

Joined Bilfinger: 2009