The Maker Podcast: Skills and People Series, Episode 2 | International Women’s Day Special

The team recorded this episode for International Women’s Day, which featured wonderful examples of women in manufacturing.

Although the sector is often criticized for its lack of diversity, we highlight those who are changing perceptions and leaving their mark. Heard from The manufacturer MD Grace Gilling, who shares her thoughts on what has changed during her 10 years in the industry.

Also hear stories from Rosa Wilkinson, Director of Policy at High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Jan Ward, Founder of Corrotherm International and Laura McBrown, Managing Director at G&B Electronic Manufacturing Services.

We hope you enjoy this week’s episode!


Rosa Wilkinson

Rosa W

“I think breaking prejudice means breaking the culture of silence. Most of us will have been in workplaces where what people think are “jokes” are people objectifying women or people. Let’s stop shutting up about it and call it out, make it obvious when things aren’t right, and make it uncomfortable for bad behavior to persist.

“The manufacturing sector must also present images of the sector that are truly diverse. Not just to young children entering school, but also to people who run manufacturing companies. We should challenge them to challenge themselves.

Ward added: “I think breaking down the stigma is about changing people’s minds about what engineering and manufacturing really is and highlighting the roles and women that already exist in the industry.

“It’s really important that we also shine a light on the women that the younger generation can relate to; the pressures women face today are not the same pressures women faced when I was younger. We need role models that young women can look up to and see their future in. We need to show young women what a career in manufacturing really entails; it’s not just about wearing a helmet and muddy boots, it’s so much more than that.

Neighborhood Jan

Neighborhood Jan

“It’s still a field very dominated by men; when I sit at board meetings and industry events I am surrounded by men, but I think that is changing, but it’s slow and it’s going to take time.

“I’m heartened by the change I’ve seen in the industry, but I’m worried about the pace. We don’t have the mainstream media on board as much as we should. We see a lot of information about what young people can earn by becoming an influencer, but never about what you can earn as an engineer. Engineering is one of the highest paying industries, but it’s often not even considered.

If you are told “no”, don’t be discouraged; be determined that this is what you want to do. It may take a while to get to the point where you start showing what you’re worth and what you’re capable of, but in the long run, it’s definitely worth it.

“Qualifications are absolutely essential. If you can come to the table with really good qualifications and some hands-on experience, that’s a huge door opener as far as I’m concerned. Another point is to not only be interested in the technical aspect of the business, but also in the commercial aspect.

Laura McBrown

Laura McBrown

“We need more relevant products to bridge the gap between engineering and women. Consider products that appeal to young women, whether it’s something important like a breast scan or something superficial like how lipstick works.

“I think young women would be surprised by what the sector has to offer. I want young women to explore their own journey and have to try something before they rule it out. To young people looking to enter the industry, I say, ignore what may be popular in the industry, ignore the typical type of imagery you see around manufacturing and go find out for yourself what manufacturing has to offer you.

Read the full article HERE

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