The Valves Coordinator who is helping the next generation of female mechanics spread their wings.
This International Women’s Day, EnerMech valves coordinator Wendy Scholes, grandmother of 14 and mother of four, is a shining example of a female continuing to #BreakTheBias as she leads the way for a new generation of women entering the mechanical sector.
With a career which spans more than three decades, Wendy’s accomplishments throughout her 20-plus years in the energy industry prove that anything is possible, tying in with EnerMech’s values and culture where the focus is on deploying the best person suited to each campaign’s requirements from the wealth of talent it employs across each of its 40 international bases.
Juggling her busy home life alongside a demanding career, Wendy has been a beacon of inspiration and firmly establishing herself and setting a path for other women to follow. Based in Queensland, Australia, she joined the company in 2017 with more than 12 years’ prior valve experience, including completing a fitter and turner apprenticeship at a mature age.
It was her father who inspired her to enter the mechanical industry. He had been a fitter for a leading international construction manufacturer. “Having grown up surrounded by mechanics, my progression into the industry felt natural,” she explained.
As a valves coordinator, Wendy’s typical duties include managing the quoting for repairs and overhauls, developing client reports and assisting valve techs on site. Recently, she was involved in a large, three-week project in Western Australia, which involved removing 245 valves, overhauling and replacing them.
A large portion of Wendy’s role is mentoring younger team members, working closely alongside them as they attempt to identify problems and strategize effective solutions. “I truly enjoy mentoring the newer generation moving into the mechanical industry at EnerMech, through workshops or apprenticeship schemes, particularly nurturing new female talent,” she commented. “Recently, I was proud to recommend a young female apprentice to EnerMech, whom I’d taken under my wing throughout several mechanical workshops within our valves division, and she will soon be joining the company permanently.”
Since joining EnerMech four years ago, Wendy has noticed far more women entering the energy industry, noting that when she completed her apprenticeship in 2010, she was the only woman. She added: “I believe that with more of our key clients forging ahead with diversity in their workplaces, it has set a precedent for EnerMech to continue creating more diverse, inclusive opportunities and job roles outside of just the corporate sphere”.
This is a true change of pace to the male dominated industry which she began her career in, as Wendy explained: “It has been difficult at times; I’ve often felt the need to prove myself and my knowledge. It could be challenging ensuring that my male colleagues understood my knowledge and background make me the perfect person for the job, despite any preconception based on my gender”.
Wendy has enjoyed several career highlights to date, most notably becoming the first Australian female to receive a Farris PSV certificate in 2008. “It was an honour to receive this coveted safety certificate,” she said. “My hope is that more women across the valves division of EnerMech will also be accredited with this prestigious certification.”
When asked what advice she would give to any women considering a career in the industry, Wendy’s response was that which she has tried to impart to her own children and grandchildren that “anything is possible”.