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International Women in Engineering Day 2021

Today we're celebrating Women in Engineering and we are interviewing one of our female project engineers at 3P, Hayley.

In this interview, Hayley tells us about why she chose a career in Engineering, what a typical day in the life of a female engineer at 3P looks like and we discuss current industry challenges.

Q: Hi! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into Engineering?

A: Hello, my name is Hayley and I’ve worked at 3P as a Project Engineer for nearly 3 years. I grew up in Bracknell and first became interested in Engineering through watching episodes of Scrapheap Challenge with my family. I didn’t realise at the time that the teams on the show were ‘engineers’, I just thought that making things that worked (or didn’t!) and solving problems as a team looked fun.

After A-levels, I knew I wanted an engaging degree that would give me transferrable skills and make me employable, which is why I chose to study Mechanical Engineering at Bath. University was hard work, but I met some great people (including my future husband!) who supported me, and were able to celebrate with me when I graduated in 2018.  

Q: Why is being an Engineer an interesting career?

A: Engineering is interesting because it is so varied. Everything you interact with on a daily basis, from the mobile in your pocket to the cars and trains you use to get around has been designed or influenced by an Engineer. At 3P, we design bespoke automated machines for the pharmaceutical and FMCG sectors, which gives you a real appreciation for how much we consume relies on engineers to be created. Next time you tuck into a pack of biscuits from a supermarket or take some paracetamol for a headache, have a think about the engineers that enabled that to happen.

Q: What does a typical day in your life look like?

A: As the work we do at 3P is bespoke and covers every part of the design process from early concept to finished machine, no two days are the same! I could be at my desk designing parts using CAD, down in the workshop prototyping a new idea, or at a customer site installing and testing equipment. Whatever I’m doing, I like to start with a cup of tea otherwise I can be quite grumpy!

During the pandemic, we had to adapt to new ways of working, with a mix of going to our site in Warwick and working from my living room at home. Wherever we are, the team has regular update meetings to check in with progress and share any learnings we have found.

Q: The theme for this year’s International Women in Engineering day is ‘Engineering Heroes’. Is there an ‘Engineering Hero’ that inspires you?

A: I am really inspired by Zoe Laughlin, who is a British artist and materials engineer. I first saw her on The Big Life Fix which was an incredible programme about improving people’s lives through design. She doesn’t fit into the stereotypical image of a ‘high-vis and hard hat’ engineer, but she makes science and engineering exciting and relevant to the world we live in today.

Q: What challenges are currently facing the industry?

A: As we are coming out of the Covid pandemic, people are much more acutely aware of our vulnerability, and the need to protect the people and planet around us. As our climate changes and our population grows, engineers are needed to ensure the availability of medicines, food and energy. As an industry, engineering is not as diverse as the wider population; according to the Women in Engineering Society, only around 13% of engineers in the UK are women. This imbalance needs to change so that a wider range of insights and experiences are taken into account when designing for the whole of society.

Q: How are 3P innovation addressing these challenges?

A: 3P are tackling the challenges facing the industry head-on, through a commitment to diverse recruitment, sustainability and the development of new pharmaceutical technology. Should another pandemic hit, our customers will be equipped to produce and package medicines and vaccines using our aseptic processing solutions, which you can find out more about here. When we moved to our new site, large investments were made to reduce our carbon emissions and our environmental footprint, which you can read more about here.

Furthermore, we have recently transitioned to an employee-owned trust. This has led to the creation of an Employee Council, who will continue to ensure that 3P is a welcoming, fair and positive place to work for people of all genders and backgrounds. Having attended an IET conference about increasing diversity in the workplace, we have already implemented changes such as purchasing female-cut workwear, increasing the visibility of our female engineers at recruitment fairs and conducting outreach visits to our local schools to educate and inspire the next generation.

If you are facing an engineering challenge and are looking for a team of dynamic engineers to help you, why not get in touch? Contact us here.

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