A DIRECTOR who has strived to improve equality at her firm has been nominated for a prestigious regional award.

Natasha Hanson, business services director at the Carlisle-headquartered Direct Rail Services, is a finalist for the Institute of Directors North West and Isle of Man Director of the Year Awards 2020.

She is a finalist in the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director of the Year category.

The company, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, said: “Starting her career with DRS in 2017 she immediately made a positive impression, leading the way, making improvements to the culture, introducing new policies and initiatives.”

She introduced a ‘blind’ recruitment process, which removes information which could influence decisions, other than skills, knowledge and ability and spearheaded a targeted recruitment campaign to encourage under-represented groups in the workforce.

She was passionate about implementing a volunteering policy at the firm last year, which allows employees to take up to five paid days a year to volunteer and support projects.

Ms Hanson said: “It’s a great honour. We’ve done a lot at DRS but there is still much more to do.

“I’ll be continuing our work but also rolling out new initiatives around mental health and more work diversifying our workforce.

John Coughlan, chief executive of TSP Engineering in Workington and Jennifer Cormack, a non-executive director of Cumbria Tourism, have also been nominated for awards.

The ceremony will be held in May.