E3R supports International Women in Engineering Day

E3R supports International Women in Engineering Day

As today is International Women in Engineering Day we have been speaking with our clients and women within their organisations to discuss their journeys as women in engineering and what the industry can do better to attract more women into STEM careers.

Recruiting a diverse workforce is now at the top of many HR professionals’ to-do lists, and implementing practices is not only socially responsible but also makes organisations more appealing to potential employees. We have witnessed a direct link between DEI, business performance, innovation, and staff retention in recent years.

This is why we have been working hard with several our clients to better improve their employer proposition and helping them source and retain a more diverse workforce.

Nerys Finch, Head of HR for Nufarm UK, has said that one of the most important things we can actively do to attract more women into engineering as employers are to create partnerships with educators so that at every level, they are aware of the variety of roles in STEM and how the modern workplace or site looks; exciting and innovative. Developing partnerships with local schools is invaluable to develop programmes to increase awareness and provide real-life experience and role models that young females can look to.

Chen Liu, Document Controller for Sulzer Services, has been working for Sulzer for over 10 years and has been part of many successes within the company. Starting as a Document Controller, Chen secured her role based on the transferable skills she had gained through the previous experience without having ever worked as a Document Controller previously.

Speaking to Chen about attracting more women into STEM subjects, she says ‘There are more and more women in these sectors now, I love that this is changing. We need more women in these industries. There aren’t enough women though. Employers and Educators need to be visiting schools and speaking with girls to make them more aware of engineering opportunities and get them more involved’.

Speaking with Sulzer’s Service Centre Manager Sally Hall, she also mirrored Chen’s thoughts about getting more young women into engineering, ‘Start at the beginning…. get into schools, promote your business, attend careers fairs, and take the time to invest in young people’. Asking Sally what advice she would give to women considering a career in engineering, she said ‘You can do it! We need a more equal mix of gender to make businesses work.  Men and Women look at things differently and as a team can make great things happen.’

Sally is a great example of how investing in young people can really drive our industries forward, having started on a youth training scheme in a Design Engineering department, Sally has had a brilliant and inspiring journey leading her to where she is now, ‘I started work in an Engineering Design department at 17 as a Trainee Design Engineer working for a gearbox manufacturer.  I went to college/university part-time to study whilst working.’

‘My career progressed, and I went down the more commercial route, taking various positions in technical sales and then onto supervising the teams.  I moved into a managerial role in a heavy engineering service business and then into a service centre management role.  I then moved to Sulzer, first taking Head of Customer Service, and then progressing to Service Centre Manager and managing the Sulzer Leeds Service Centre.’

Having always loved maths and physics, Tyra Jones (Planning Supervisor) has always been a practical person and joined the dots, knowing that women were highly sought after in the engineering industry, and pursued a career through an apprenticeship with Sulzer.

Talking to Tyra about her greatest achievements, she says ‘My biggest learning curve and challenge has been progressing to a supervisory role when I am so young and managing people that have worked in the industry/department a lot longer than me was very nerve-racking and probably one of my biggest challenges so far. Naturally worrying about the impression I will make and making sure I am respected by my team whilst also learning on the job.

I have always liked a challenge and I like new things to learn. Planning is forever evolving and innovating, it’s always a challenge and no two days are the same. That’s what I love about it and because our department is always looking to improve it’s a very nice feeling to help the business grow and be part of positive change.’

Tyra’s advice for young women looking to start in engineering ‘Go for it, you have nothing to lose, be confident and the sky’s the limit. You can make it whatever you want, you need to have faith in your own ability and not to be scared to challenge. Engineering isn’t just maths and physics – there are so many different types of engineering and there are so many different roles within the engineering industry. Jobs like Planning, Scheduling, Finance, Tendering, Procurement, Projects, the opportunities are endless.’

Natalie Hodgson, HR Business Partner for Sulzer Services adds, “As a business, we are recognising more and more that local partnerships and a high level of exposure to people at a young age are very important to future proof our industry. Encouraging young women to consider the many opportunities within Manufacturing for individuals with a variety of interests and skillsets is crucial to both buildings our brand as a potential upcoming employer, but also ensuring that we engage with exciting talent at an early stage. This year has been a turning point for us; Our work with events such as Leeds Manufacturing Festival and GirlTech have shown us the bright, engaging and determined young women and men that will make up our workforce of the future.”

As part of who we are as a business, supporting the industries we work in and support through different initiatives is hugely important to us, along with shining a light on brilliant people and the journeys they have gone through to get to where they are today. Attracting more women into engineering roles will be a long process, but we’re positive that through strong partnerships and bringing more awareness to the types of roles available to not only young women but young people, in general, will ensure a strong future for our industries.


23rd June 2022

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