The chief operations officer at a Cumbrian engineering firm has offered words of encouragement to females thinking about joining the sector.

Shiby Bernard, of McMenon, Workington, said she was inspired to make the comments by International Women In Engineering Day, which celebrates the role of women in the sector and takes place today.

In her role, Shiby is responsible for the operational functions of the business which includes engineering, manufacturing and product development.

Over 15,000 products are manufactured on-site each year, with the primary products being differential pressure flow meters and temperature measurement instrumentation.

Shiby said: “The real fun in engineering is the creative space it allows.

“It lets your imagination flow while constantly challenging you to find solutions.

"To know that you are part of the process of creating something or solving a problem is a hugely positive and fulfilling experience.

“To every female out there, girls in school or women interested in engineering and looking to switch careers into engineering related roles as I did, I’d just like to say: go out and explore the variety of options within engineering and find one that will allow you to express yourself best.

“The gender stereotypes around engineering are perhaps an obvious barrier.

“In addition to the stereotypes that men are better at engineering, and that engineering is better suited for men, there is another: that women are not interested in science or engineering."

However, she said this was "seriously flawed" and she did not consider it unusual for her to work in the sector.

“I see it as a place of work and carry on with my responsibilities,” she said.

"I would like to see effective engineering work placement opportunities for school students that give them an experience of actually creating something or solving a technical problem.

"Subject to being the best person for the job, we would like to increase the number of women working for us, particularly within technical roles."