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Another Female First for BAE Systems


The CBI has presented its ’First Women’ award to Helen Barratt, Construction Capability Manager at BAE Systems Submarine Solutions for the role she played in ensuring that the 1,700 manufacturing staff she oversees deliver on the demanding construction requirements of the Astute class of nuclear submarines.

The First Women Awards are presented by the CBI each year to celebrate women who are trailblazers and pioneers in business and this is the second successive year it has been awarded to BAE Systems’ Submarine Solutions with Rosalind Murray scooping the honour in 2008.

Helen Barratt said:

"I was delighted but also hugely surprised to receive the award against such high powered opposition. I felt very fortunate just to be shortlisted - for someone to read my citation and decide I was worthy of being short-listed was quite remarkable. Winning was the icing on the cake.

“There are now eight females in my team, and I like to think I have introduced more women into Operations, both directly and by showing that a journey previously seen as ’no entry’ for women is open.”

Helen joined the business in 1985 as an administration assistant and made her first venture into the construction environment in 1997, working as material control officer on the Landing Platform Dock programme and she successfully helped deliver two 20,000 tonne amphibious assault ships, HMS Albion and Bulwark, to the Royal Navy. In January 2009 she was appointed to her present post of Operations Submarine Construction Capability Manager supporting four senior Construction Managers in managing budgets in excess of £100 million.

Helen believes her success recognises her journey from administration assistant to the most senior female manager in Operations, helping to break down barriers in a male-dominated industry

The CBI judging panel met Helen and other shortlisted candidates in London recently. Helen’s rivals in the manufacturing section were timber firm executive Penelope Lloyds, Isuzu Truck UK boss Nikki King, and ethical skincare products producer Dr Mah Hussain-Gambles of Saaf Skincare.


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