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Bianka Labelle-Robert

Junior Outfit Engineer
Seaspan Shipyards
Bianka Labelle-Robert
Bianka Labelle-Robert
Sector
Location Born
Location Now
Education Pathway
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7.8

I am responsible for the interior completion of ship compartments.

About me

I was born/grew up in: I was born in Revelstoke BC, and grew up in Campbell River, BC.

I now live in: North Vancouver, BC.

I completed my training/education at:  University of Ottawa, BASc in Mechanical Engineering.

What I do at work

Currently, I am working on the concept design for the new build of the Multi-Purpose Vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard. I work with a computer-aided design software (AutoCAD) to create compartment arrangements. I need to ensure that I meet marine industry standards, Transport Canada regulations as well as Class requirements in my design. During my design process, I regularly check in with our customer to ensure that the design I am creating will meet their specific needs. To ensure that my design will integrate well with the rest of the vessel I am in constant communication with other departments. This includes Electrical, Structural, Naval Architecture, and Mechanical engineers. It is critical that departments communicate well with each other during all phases of design and build. 

My career path is

I really wanted to be a vet or a physiotherapist when I was in high school. I never saw myself as a mechanical engineer. My high school Physics teacher made learning incredibly fun and motivating. This is one of the reasons why I decided to go into engineering.

I struggled a lot during my degree but had supportive friends, family, and professors. I think the biggest help for me was internships/Co-ops. My first co-op was in Aerospace.  While I really enjoyed my time and learned a lot from everyone there, it helped me realize that it was not the right field for me. At this internship, I was able to make connections that then lead me to shipbuilding.

In my past role, I had the opportunity to work with an outfit engineer, Karla Herrera. She passed a lot of her knowledge down to me when I helped her with the final outfit of the OFSV. Seeing her work scope really motivated me to join the department. Working with other women in engineering has helped build my confidence. It has also pushed me to work in roles I would have never thought of doing before.

I am motivated by

I really enjoyed working on the ship acceptance of the three Offshore Fisheries Science Vessels (OFSV) we built. I participated in inspections on the entire vessel and worked with our customer to ensure we solved any issues to provide a high-quality product at delivery. During the inspections, I took away many lessons learned which I apply to my current design work. For example, working with production leads helped me see the issues they face when bringing engineering drawings to life. It also helped me see how I can avoid these in my future designs.

It was very motivating for me to see my progression from the first ship delivery to the third ship delivery. Both my efficiency and knowledge have improved. We had tight deadlines to meet, and it was extremely rewarding to see the results of my hard work reflected in the acceptance of the vessels.

After our second delivery, I worked with my coworker to develop an app that would improve our inspection process. That app is now used throughout the yard by various departments. It is very rewarding to know something I have worked on is now helping others in their day-to-day work!

How I affect people’s lives

My major focus for this project is working with an Interior Design Firm to improve the comfort and habitability of the working vessels. Our goal is to use the limited space on board and provide a creative and functional living space for the crew. The vessel needs to satisfy the all the needs a person would have over eight months. The vessel is their home, office, gym, workshop, social area and so much more. We need to provide a high quality of life while at sea. I think our job as engineers is always to be thinking of how we can improve people’s lives, even in the slightest way.

Outside of work I

I like being outdoors and enjoy cycling, skiing, and camping. I also paint, draw, and make handmade rugs in my spare time.

My advice to others

It can be overwhelming to try to figure out where you want to end up. Internships and co-ops can help you find out what area you are best suited. You may also meet a mentor who can help guide you and offer invaluable advice. If you struggle along the way, keep working because it is worth it in the end.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Art
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Music
  • Physical Education/Health
  • Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Played on a sports team
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Felt at home in the outside, natural environment
  • Was really creative
  • Wasn't sure what I wanted to do
  • Learned best “by doing”
  • Liked to design or build things

Partners

Seaspan Shipyards

Let’s Talk Science appreciates the support of Seaspan Shipyards in connecting us with this individual.

Seaspan Shipyards is a leader in Canada’s shipbuilding and ship repair industry. With modern facilities and a dedicated workforce of 2,700 in North Vancouver and Victoria, Seaspan Shipyards has proven itself to be a trusted partner on a range of complex projects for both government and the private sector. Seaspan Shipyards is proud to be Canada’s chosen non-combat shipbuilder under the National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSS). In this capacity, the company is building state-of-the-art ships in Canada for the Canadian Coast Guard and Royal Canadian Navy. Through its NSS-related work, Seaspan Shipyards is creating jobs, generating economic benefits and rebuilding Canada’s shipbuilding and marine industries.

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