INTERNATIONAL WOMEN IN ENGINEERING DAY
White Label is a specialist in engineering recruitment so naturally when we heard that it is International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, we knew we wanted to support the cause.
Now in its seventh year, International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is a global awareness campaign that aims to raise the profile of women in engineering. It helps to focus attention onto the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry.
The campaign in 2020 has a fantastic theme of #ShapeTheWorld. They have called for stories of how women engineers ‘shape the world and help make our planet a better, safer, more innovative and exciting place to be.’ We thought that this would be a fantastic opportunity to interview our client Philippa Glover who is the Managing Director of CNC Robotics and has certainly played a huge role in shaping the world.
CNC Robotics is the UK’s leading integrator specialising in machining applications. They are a Platinum KUKA System Partner, having had successfully delivered hundreds of automated production projects across several industries. Their automation expertise alongside their innovative and technological acumen supports KUKA’s growth through targeting fast-growing national and international markets.
So, without further ado, let’s find out more about Philippa, her inspiring career and why she thinks that encouraging creative subjects in school is just as important as STEM subjects.
What made you first interested in a career in engineering?
I have always had a passion for science and technology – I even remember wanting to be a civil engineer when I was younger! I am not actually an engineer though; I am a Chemistry graduate who has become a business leader passionate about one of the most exciting and dynamic sectors within engineering – manufacturing.
Can you give us a brief overview of your career so far?
I am currently the Managing Director of CNC Robotics and it has certainly been an interesting journey to get here.
From a young age, I was able to gain invaluable work experience, often by knocking on doors to see if someone would give me a chance. In this way I built a unique insight into lots of different industries.
The insight I gained was invaluable and inspired me to go on to study Science and Maths at College and then Chemistry at University. I then decided to undertake a Masters in Chemistry with a year in industry at the University of Sheffield.
After graduation I started my career at P&G where I worked as a scientist, before moving to the north-west to work in various management roles within R&D, Operations and Quality Management. After my role was made redundant, I decided to take a step back and use the time as an opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I developed in industry differently and so I joined KTN the UK’s innovation network which is where I met CNC Robotics.
Throughout my career, people have always believed in me. I have always used these experiences to further develop my leadership skills which have enabled me to develop the skills to visualise a future and through developing and empowering those around me turn it into reality.
The future is exciting, and I feel very privileged to be the Managing Director of CNC Robotics and be recognised as a champion for the sector sitting on various advisory boards such as ISCF Manufacturing Made Smarter championing the voice of SMEs.
As a woman have you encountered any blockages in your career?
After I had my second child my role was made redundant while I was on maternity leave which was a difficult thing to go through. At the time it felt very personal although these things often aren’t and in hindsight, the experience definitely made me stronger and more resilient.
Were you particularly interested in maths and science when you were at school?
I think it was my science teacher who had a profound impact on me. He worked for one of the large oil and gas companies before becoming a teacher. He was so passionate and brought it all to life and it made me curious about the world around me.
Do you think it’s important to encourage STEM subjects in school?
I think that what is important is that all children get a balanced education. In my opinion, the arts are just as important as STEM subjects. I strongly believe we should do more to expose school children to scientific concepts such as those found within STEM subjects but also encourage them to be inquisitive which is something that is often encouraged through creative subjects.
At CNC Robotics we take an interdisciplinary approach, combining scientific and creative thought to solve manufacturers challenges and deliver practical working solutions that deliver a strong ROI.
How do you think teachers can try and engage girls in subjects like science, maths and engineering?
I think young girls need to be exposed to real experiences to enable them to see first-hand what science, maths and engineering looks like in the real world.
How do you think the engineering industry can adapt and improve to embrace female engineers?
We need to ensure that the industry is as inclusive as possible and we should all do our best to inspire, attract and retain people from diverse backgrounds that reflect society as a whole, and women are part of this.
As well as being the right thing to do, there are significant benefits to businesses who do this as different perspectives within teams help to drive innovation and creative thought.
As an engineering business, how have you navigated the disruptions that Covid-19 has caused?
It has been essential to take and continue to take all appropriate steps to limit the threat of COVID-19 as much as possible. By working together as a team, we have been able to minimise the risk and the potential impact of the evolving situation.
As a business, we have maintained a strong commercial focus and quickly changed how we operated to enable us to protect the health and wellbeing of our staff but also the business. The business has maintained momentum and by changing our working practises we have been able to continue to work safely in the new environment. For example, the business quickly changed from an office-based engineering business to one where the majority of the team are working remotely.
Physical meetings have been replaced with virtual ones as we have harnessed digital technologies to enable us to continue to work with our clients across the world. Thanks to the business having a strong strategic plan and a solid order pipeline in place we have been able to maintain momentum.
As a business, we are in a strong position and through safe working practises, a strong network and a dedicated team we are continuing to support and work with the manufacturing community. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone who has worked so hard.
Do you think that coronavirus will have an impact on the engineering industry in the long-term?
The current situation has had a profound impact on the sector. The pace at which industry is adopting digital technologies I believe is set to accelerate as the majority of companies now have no choice. We will see also a shift to more highly skilled roles as we begin to build a stronger and more resilient future with people and technology at the heart of the sector.
Have you been impacted professionally by coronavirus?
Personally, I feel like I have grown professionally. Being a leader is not always about following a formal plan but being able to think strategically to create sustainable results regardless of what curveballs are sent your way.
What do you think the future holds for engineering?
Digital technologies will no longer be a choice. We will see an increase in companies looking to work with specialist companies like CNC Robotics to help them build agility, flexibility and resilience into their manufacturing operations As a result more highly skilled jobs will be created and we will need organisations to continue to champion skill development to support the changing landscape and ensure we have the vital skills we need for the future.
What advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time when you were first starting in your career?
The most important lesson I have learned is to surround yourself with people who inspire you.
To find out how you can help INWED Shape The World this year, visit here for a wide range of resources and activities.