Jun 2023

Spotlight on EngTech: Charlotte Bendall

To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, Jordanne Allsopp, IGEM Marketing Communications Co-ordinator, spoke to Charlotte Bendall, Senior Gas Network Engineer at GTC and an IGEM EngTech member

Charlotte Bendall is an example of how following your passion can lead to wonderful opportunities.

Starting out, Charlotte began her career in 2012 as a Learning Support Assistant in the Suffolk and Essex area before going on to achieve Qualified Teacher status in 2016.

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She said: “Due to my passion for coding and mathematics, I decided to take my career in a different direction and further develop the skills I had obtained as a teacher in the engineering industry.

“I applied for an administrative role within GTC in September 2020 as a Gas Engineering Support Officer to support the pressure reduction installation (PRI) asset and maintenance team.”

Whilst working in the role, Charlotte accompanied a colleague to visit PRIs in the local area to gain a better understanding of the components and configurations of the assets. She said: “This was a standout moment for me in my career as it ignited my passion to further develop my knowledge and understanding of how PRIs work and why maintenance and integrity is so important.”

In November 2021, she moved into the position of Asset Integrity Engineer with a focus on compliance and innovation. The role enabled her to gain a better understanding of the regulations and standards behind much of the work being carried out on site.

Then in June 2022, Charlotte was promoted to a Senior Gas Network Engineer, specialising in PRI maintenance and remedials. Since working in the role, she has gained a deeper appreciation of the work being carried out on site after shadowing technicians on inspections, carrying out component checks and completing technician audits.

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When asked why she became an IGEM Member, Charlotte said: “I was encouraged to become an IGEM member when I first started at GTC in 2020 and to create a CPD folder which recorded any experience or training I had completed.

“From developing my skills, I began my application for EngTech status in April 2022, which I achieved in the September using the experience I gained from leading a number of innovation and PRI maintenance focused projects.”

She explains: “EngTech status is recognised in the industry and has helped further my career. I have been presented with several new and exciting opportunities since I gained the accreditation. It shows employers that you are willing to develop yourself professionally within the industry.”

Charlotte also highlights the importance of creating a CPD folder to log any site visits, process changes you may have been involved with, any positive emails acknowledging the work you have completed, training courses taken and certifications gained which will help when starting an EngTech application.

She also recommends taking photographs when going out on site visits of the work being carried out and write a short report of what was done, why it was done and any questions you asked on site and what you learnt.

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When we asked how IGEM has helped to support her career, she said: “When leading innovation projects, the Gi journal has been really useful to highlight new products introduced into the gas industry and it gave me a great starting point to carry out further research.

“The IGEM suite of technical standards is vital in my current role to support any decisions being made with changes to our assets. Also, I refer to these documents regularly when chairing the GTC Gas Standards Review Group to ensure document and policy compliance.

“The feedback I received when completing my EngTech application was very constructive and I felt supported throughout my application.”

On the future of gas, Charlotte is looking forward to being part of research or studies around the introduction of hydrogen and how it will impact the integrity of pipelines and assets within the network.

Having previously worked in education, Charlotte said: “From working in areas of deprivation, I would like to see the industry reach out to children in primary schools to ignite their passion for problem solving, innovation and environmental issues at a younger age. It would be great to encourage STEM through teaching resources, work pack modules or having open curriculum days to support teachers to make this possible.”

When asked what advice she would give to those starting out in the gas industry, Charlotte said: “Get as much on-site experience as you can by being proactive and asking to shadow technicians, colleagues and contractors to see a range of different work being carried out.

“Never be afraid to ask questions when onsite. From my experience, no question is a silly question and you don’t learn if you don’t ask.”