Women’s Month: Shevril Sunkumar is changing the shipyard narrative

Sandock Austral Shipyards' Planning Specialist, Shevril Sunkumar. Picture: Supplied

Sandock Austral Shipyards' Planning Specialist, Shevril Sunkumar. Picture: Supplied

Published Aug 22, 2023


As Women's Month celebrations continue throughout the month of August, the focus has changed from what women “can” do to change the narrative to how women “are” creating a new narrative.

One such woman is Sandock Austral Shipyard's Planning Specialist, Shevril Sunkumar.

In her nine years at SAS, Shevril has worked hard to forge a new path for the many women set to follow in her footsteps.

As part of her long list of duties, Shevril is responsible for the management and maintenance of master schedules for all SAS's projects.

“My role is to also oversee the planning department and I work very closely with the production planners, coordinators and administrators,” she said.

“I am also responsible for ensuring that equipment/material are procured and delivered on time. I also provide management with reports and analysis on the Planning Function of the Project Management Cycle.”

Shevril proudly hailed her studies as a highlight in her career.

“In the last year I achieved a Post Graduate Diploma in Project Management as well as her Project Management Professional (PMP) accredited," she said.

Shevril was also promoted at SAS, all adding weight to her title and accomplishments.

She said earlier this year, she took the PMP exam, which is considered to be a very important certification to Project Managers.

"The PMP is an internationally recognised certification and I was extremely proud of myself in that I passed the certification on my first attempt,“ she said.

Despite all her highs, Shevril conceded that over the years, it has been tough to remain motivated, especially in KwaZulu-Natal owing to the recent devastating floods and 2021 July unrest however, she said she draws strength from her religious beliefs.

“I pray and believe that the negative things that we have been affected by in the past few years will come to pass,” Shevril said.

Sandock Austral Shipyards' Planning Specialist, Shevril Sunkumar. Picture: Supplied

Speaking on the female representation in her field, Shevril said when she started at SAS nine years ago, there were very few women working in the technical sector.

"This is due to the shipbuilding/ship repair workforce being a male dominated industry for a long time. It is encouraging to see that women are being given these opportunities now and many of them are excelling in this industry.

“It is a bit of a double barrel for myself as the Project Management industry had also had more male project managers. It is reassuring to see that there is now an influx of women in the industry," Shevril said.

She believes that maintaining a willingness to learn has helped her overcome and achieve in her career.

“I believe in a quote by Zig Ziglar that states, 'If you are not willing to learn no one can help you, if you are determined to learn no one can stop you',” Shevril said.

“I strongly stand behind this quote as I believe that my enthusiasm and willingness to evolve myself everyday has contributed to my personal growth and I encourage all women to live by this. We can all only achieve what we put our hearts, minds and souls to.”