ANSTO’s Engineering Support Workshop Manager Bianca Shepherd oversees the manufacturing of parts for Australia’s only nuclear reactor
Seeing ideas go from concept to reality is an exciting part of Bianca’s day-to-day at ANSTO. As the engineering support workshop manager, Bianca manages the operation of the workshop facility to make sure all requirements are met. This includes working with engineering teams to understand the scope of upcoming projects, organising materials and resources needed for manufacturing, quality checks, and sometimes even installing and maintaining parts onsite.
Bianca also oversees the manufacture of specialised parts for the OPAL multi-purpose reactor, which makes nuclear medicine for half a million Australians each year.
“The items that we manufacture are bespoke and not able to be purchased off the shelf,” says Bianca. “Safety and quality are the keys to ensuring the work we produce is exactly what the client is after.”
An engineering mindset
Bianca started her STEM journey as an electrical engineering cadet at BHP and says her engineering background ensures that safety is always a priority. Skills in troubleshooting and analysing problems have been really helpful too, and having a pragmatic, methodical approach has worked well for her.
Keen to get into engineering? Bianca says you should follow the path you want to take. “Your career is going to be a journey, there are going to be things that you do that you will absolutely thrive at and others that are going to test your mettle.”
She also urges you to believe in yourself and to find a mentor. “You need to have resilience and grit. I found that having someone to bounce ideas off and discuss concepts with was a valuable key to success. It doesn’t need to be a formal relationship to still add value to your development.”
Bianca’s study and career pathway
- Associate Diploma of Electrical Engineering, TAFE NSW
- Bachelor of Arts (Management & Psychology), University of Wollongong
- Human Resources Development Officer, BHP Steel
- Engineering Support Workshop Manager, ANSTO
This article originally appears in Careers with STEM: Engineering 2021.
Author: Louise Meers
Louise is the production editor for Careers with STEM. She has a journalism degree from the University of Technology, Sydney and has spent over a decade writing for youth. She is passionate about inspiring young people to achieve their biggest goals and build a better future.