Celebrating International Women’s Day

NLB has a highly skilled, professional and dedicated workforce delivering an essential safety service for mariners. International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to pay tribute to the amazing women who work for the Northern Lighthouse Board in a vast range of different roles. These include Engineering, IT, Communications, Ships’ Catering, HR, Finance, Procurement, Health and Safety, Directorship and Board Members.


Elaine Wilkinson, Chair, Board of Commissioners

Woman on ship's bridge

“I’ve had the privilege of being Chair of the Board of Commissioners since April 2023, having been a Commissioner (Non-Executive Director) for over six years.  I am a finance professional with many years’ experience as a senior civil servant in Northern Ireland and as a non-executive director in the public sector in Scotland.  

“Why do I think NLB is the best organisation I have ever worked in? It has to be the culture and the great people all wanting to do the right thing, but a close second is the Commissioners‘ annual inspection voyage where we get to spend time at sea and visit some of the most inaccessible and beautiful locations in Scotland.  This can be by helicopter, work boat or RIB – not too many non-executive roles provide such exciting opportunities!”


Lianne, Marine Operations Assistant, Oban

Woman sat at desk“I’ve worked for NLB for almost 5 years. I really enjoy the variety of my role where no two days are the same.  We have a friendly team who all help and support each other. There have been many highlights including NLB’s involvement in the Oban Winter Festival.

The first one I was involved in was excellent. Local businesses set up stalls in our buoy store and our late colleague Fiona Vick put a lot of time and effort working on a display about NLB and making sure the buoy store looked amazing. It was lovely seeing members of the public so interested in our work especially after they had been onboard Pole Star and hearing how much they’d enjoyed it. Another highlight was a trip on Pharos around Kerrera and of course the lunch onboard – the food served on our ships is delicious!”


Ruth, Procurement Officer, Edinburgh

woman smiling

“During the 28 years I’ve worked for NLB, I’ve been lucky enough to have had a variety of roles.  As Procurement Officer, I get to work with the whole NLB team and even after all this time I’m still learning new things about the organisation. When I first started working here there were very few women in roles outside admin. Now we have women in roles such as directors, managers, engineering etc so it goes to show how far the organisation has come!”


Rachel, HR Adviser, Edinburgh

Woman standing next to statue

“I have worked as an HR Adviser with NLB for 16 years. I love the variety this role offers; working with colleagues across the whole organisation to recruit new employees, supporting compliance and growth of staff through our training and development processes, managing health and wellbeing and the autonomy enabled to be able to bring programmes such as See Me’s partnership project and recognition through the Best Practice Awards to the NLB.

“A standout moment was being invited to use the Helicopter simulator at our contractor’s facilities – I was ‘flying’ in Glasgow and nearly crashed into the SECC! I haven’t travelled to many lighthouses over my time, but I have a fondness for Sumburgh Head following many visits to recruit technicians. And you can’t beat the scenery on the drive to Oban – with of course an obligatory stop at Tyndrum. Everyone loves a lighthouse but none more than NLB employees.”


Pamela, Retained Lighthouse keeper (RLK), Aberdeenshire

Woman with sea and cliff tops in the background

 

 

 

 

“I joined NLB very recently as Retained Lighthouse Keeper for Aberdeenshire. While I’m still working through my induction to learn this new role, I have really appreciated the warm welcome from everyone I’ve met so far. The focus on safety has come through very strongly from everyone. I’m excited for the year ahead, learning more and settling in to the job.”


Fiona, Communications Officer, Edinburgh

Woman in jacket and hood

“I joined NLB almost 7 years ago and it’s quite possibly the best role in comms! Who doesn’t love a lighthouse, although I found out quite quickly there’s more to NLB than lighthouses. With such a rich heritage, our modern-day service, our apprenticeship scheme, world leading technology, our sustainability journey and how we’re tackling climate change, we have an amazing story to tell.

“The highlight of my role is getting out on site and visiting our lighthouses or going onboard our ships. That doesn’t happen on a regular basis, so the next best thing is receiving video and photos from our ships’ crews and the team out on site. As well as highlighting the remote and sometimes hostile working conditions our mariners, technicians and engineers experience, it’s also a reminder that I work for a pretty unique organisation.”


Amanda, Marine Operations Assistant, Oban

Woman standing with ship in background

“The best thing about working here is the people, everyone is so friendly and helpful. I’ve been here for 10 months now, there is so much to learn and I really enjoy all the different aspects of the role. Part of our work at the Oban base involves other ships berthing. When Pole Star and Pharos are not on the berth, there might be a Calmac ferry or a fish farm boat.  During the Spring and Summer months, the Hebridean Princess berths each week for passengers to join and disembark, there have been some interesting and famous people checking in!”


Rae, Supplies Officer, Oban

Woman in orange hi vis jacket in fork lift truck

 

 

 

 

 

“I’ve been in my current role as Supplies Officer for a few years but I’ve actually worked for NLB for 25 years!  During this time I’ve been fortunate to experience not only the office environment but also the wide range of tasks that take place at our Oban Base, including visits to sites by both boat and helicopter.   

“Over the years there have been many memorable highlights – getting stuck at Ardnamurchan on a return trip from Hyskeir Lighthouse by helicopter when the helicopter broke down and we had to be rescued by the then new EC135 helicopter.  On that same trip being able to watch from the air the basking sharks feeding in the small inlets around Hyskeir. 

“On another occasion being sent to view and photograph one of our lighthouses in Port Appin which had been painted as Mr Blobby the TV character; trying to create loading lists for our ship at the end of a project on site at the Garvellachs when it was blowing up a storm and pouring with rain – the list goes on.  I know many of the people who work for NLB say the highlight of their role is that every day is different, tasks are varied and sometimes very much out of the ordinary.”


Mhairi, Marine Operations Supervisor, Oban

“I have worked for NLB for 8 years. I love my job, it’s mainly admin based and I deal with various departments. The best things about working here are definitely the people and the variety.  Everyone is so nice and helpful and work well together. I really like the fact  that no two days are the same and your day can go off on a random tangent which usually means you learn some new interesting stuff.

“I also like that when you tell people you work for the Northern Lighthouse Board they always ask loads of questions and when they find out exactly what we do are really interested. I never saw myself working for an organisation like this, I expected to end up in a boring office job and this couldn’t be further from that! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me with NLB”.


Christine, Maintenance Systems Assistant, Edinburgh

Woman with glasses

“I started working for NLB in the Seventies, and I find that incredible, as it honestly feels like I only came for my interview yesterday.  After being interviewed in the very intimidating Ante Room and having to do a typing test, I was happy to hear I had the job.  In those days there was a quick turnaround of Clerkess/Typists, as they would leave when they started their families, so I didn’t think I would last long.  Well – that didn’t work out for me!  I had a family, but luckily for me, it was coming into the Nineties, so I didn’t have to leave.

“Even though I’ve worked for decades in 84 George Street, I’ve moved positions and departments, so I’ve had a varied career.  Departments I’ve worked in include Accounts, Engineers, Business Support and I am now currently involved with Q4 in Assets.  

“The career highlight for me would have to be when I worked for the GNSS Engineer and attended conferences and meetings all over Europe, which was hard work, but quite glamorous at the time. I’ve also been lucky enough to work with many lovely people, and I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed every department that I’ve worked in, as each job has had its good points.

“Although some work days are quite repetitive, I don’t think I could have had any other job where I could start the day doing wages for the ships’ crew, and then visit the Bell Rock Lighthouse in the afternoon, just for the ride!  That for me is the beauty of NLB, you never know what is going to happen next.

“I’m approaching 45 years’ service with NLB and have seen many changes, but all in all the core strength has always stayed the same – to keep the lights on and keep the mariner safe.”

For all media enquiries, please contact:

Fiona Holmes
Communications Officer
T: 0131 473 3100
E: fionah@nlb.org.uk
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