Michelle Quinn
Michelle Quinn

Almond Engineering appoints first female board member

Michelle Quinn has become the latest addition to Almond Engineering Limited’s board and becomes the youngest and first female director of the company since it began trading in 1979.

Michelle joined the Scottish precision engineering company, based in Livingston, after leaving school and has worked her way to the top of the company in just 13 years. Her appointment to the board brings a powerful combination of extensive company knowledge, business experience and a young female perspective in a traditionally male orientated sector.

Michelle will be responsible for helping to deliver £2 million growth in the next three years, through extensive investment in machines and staff, and championing engineering as a rewarding career for young women and men.

Michelle said “I’m proud to have been appointed to the board and taking on the challenges ahead. I’m keen to promote engineering and the wide range of opportunities to train as an engineer to school leavers, particularly girls.

“To grow sustainably we need to invest in more machinery, and plan to invest heavily to grow our machining capacity by 40% this year alone. I also want to cultivate young Scottish talent and highlight different ways into engineering, such as apprenticeships and invaluable work experience that is often overlooked in favour of going to university.”

Michelle’s passion for engineering comes with a pragmatic outlook to career progression. After leaving school she was offered a temporary position as an office junior at Almond Engineering in August 2005. “I had left school and knew I wanted to go straight out to work rather than head for university. The temporary position led to a full time offer and promotion to Office Administrator a year later. I became a Manager in 2009, and now a Director. Hard work, dedication and ambition will get you where you want to go and I’m keen to show young people that’s possible in engineering,” said Michelle.

Almond Engineering has worked closely with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) West Lothian and Michelle has helped provide insight into working in engineering from a young female perspective. “I’m very keen to continue working closely with DYW West Lothian, showing them practical ways for young people to develop their careers and gain real life experience in the workplace. The DYW social media campaign #nowrongpath illustrates how there are many ways to succeed in business and a wide range of people who have successful careers through many different paths,” said Michelle.

Lauren Brown, DYW West Lothian Project Manager said: “I am absolutely delighted to hear the news of Michelle’s latest appointment, her passion and drive will have a transformational effect on the future of the company. Michelle has invested time, commitment and effort in supporting the DYW agenda in West Lothian and she is a positive example of the #nowrongpath message. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Michelle to inspire and develop West Lothian’s future workforce.”

Michelle is also mentoring school pupils through the Career Ready programme that exposes pupils in the final two years of school to the working environment. “Mentoring is a great way of providing school children with real insight into the modern workplace, busting myths about engineering’s traditional perception as dirty and greasy. We show pupils a wide range of working environments from design and fabrication to the back office. Engineering is fascinating and mesmerising as you see materials processed into products that are used across industry. It’s great to see their fascination and love for engineering grow,” said Michelle.

Chris Smith, Chairman of Almond Engineering said: “Our success is a combination of our engineering expertise and the talented people we employ. I’m very pleased to welcome Michelle to the board. She has made a significant contribution to the company’s success and her insight, extensive knowledge of the company and its markets, together with her fresh perspective and ideas will be invaluable as we continue to expand.”

Michelle is keen to employ more apprentices in the business and is keen to see more women engineers working in the company. “It’s an exciting time to be appointed to the board at Almond Engineering as we are in a period of extensive investment in both our machinery and people to grow the business and deliver superior service to our customers. There have been great changes in our industry over the last 13 years and we need more talented female engineers in our industry. Almond Engineering is a very progressive company and I would like to see more female apprenticeships in our sector, so working to attract more young women into this exciting industry is high on my agenda as their latest Director,” concludes Michelle.

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