AN 18-year-old technical apprentice at a leading engineering firm is celebrating being one of the youngest members elected onto the shadow board of an influential business group.
Andrea Henry, who has been supported by her employer McMenon Engineering Services in Workington to gain additional business and networking experience, has been elected onto the Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster Shadow Board to champion diversity and inclusion.
Andrea, who was brought up in Aberdeen before moving to Cumbria last year, attended her first meeting of the board this week having only recently turned 18.
Andrea said: “I am thrilled and very excited to have been elected onto the BECBC Shadow Board. I am looking forward to seeing how it works and how I can best contribute.
“McMenon has given me great support and encouragement to develop my business experience and leadership skills as well as my technical ability. It’s a brilliant opportunity.
“To get through the application process and be elected onto the board at my age is positive for diversity and inclusion in its own right.
“I am keen to ensure that diversity and inclusion extends right across the community, including in all our schools and colleges. It’s very important to develop good relationships in the community and to understand what difficulties people face and find out about people’s different points of view.
“If we don’t know what people from diverse backgrounds need, then how do we know what to offer? Being a female from an ethnic minority background, born in India and raised in Scotland, I already have been exposed to a range of diverse experiences – migrating to the UK, learning to live life as an ethnic minority.
“I am looking forward to promoting inclusion and diversity not just in the big organisations in Cumbria but in the smaller SMEs as well. We all need to work together.
“I also think it’s very important for young people’s voices to be heard and for young people to be given opportunities to learn. It is the next generation who will implement change and it’s very important that we know and experience how businesses and organisations work so that we can make a positive difference.
“I have been fortunate to be part of a generation which has been taught through childhood and school the importance of sustainability not just from an environmental perspective but from a social and economic perspective too. I am aware how important it is to balance economic progression with environmental protection.
“I am also keen to participate and contribute positively to the debate on renewable energy sources, nuclear energy and their sustainable development, a topic of priority for BECBC, Cumbria and the broader UK economy.”
Andrea, who is studying for her Engineering Degree Apprenticeship at Lakes College, is delighted to have been given an opportunity for an apprenticeship with McMenon and praised the company for being so supportive of her application to the BECBC Shadow Board.
“McMenon is a great company to work for. They are committed to encouraging the next generation, diversity and inclusion and I am delighted to be able to take that thinking and experience to the Shadow Board.
“It will be a massive opportunity to develop my leadership skills. It will equip me with knowledge and understanding of working at board level, which will otherwise take me years to achieve.”
Gary Martin, Divisional Head, Services and Capabilities at McMenon, said: “We are delighted that Andrea has come through what was an extremely robust application and interview process to be elected onto the BECBC Shadow Board.
“Promoting the next generation, inclusion and diversity are embedded in McMenon’s way of thinking, working and doing business. They are extremely important to us.
“To see Andrea on the BECBC Shadow Board is really pleasing for all the team at McMenon. Our congratulations go to her and we look forward to hearing back on the positive influence and impact Andrea and the rest of the Shadow Board make on our community.”
Andrea, who is enjoying exploring her new home county of Cumbria, is a keen sportsperson, enjoying boxing, basketball and netball as well as being an accomplished pianist and violinist.
For more information about McMenon Engineering Services Limited, visit www.mcmenon.com
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