I love making things – always have since a child and for me a career in Engineering and specifically Manufacturing was my plan since I was a teenager. I believe that our economy desperately needs innovative and agile manufacturing which takes advantage of both niche & general markets where the UK can and should be competitive. I get very frustrated when capable technical people disappear into service sectors (especially banking and management consultancy).
Therefore I want to encourage young people into technical careers and open up manufacturing so they understand what goes on inside the big grey miscellaneous boxes which are the factories they regularly pass. To this end I am a STEMnet ambassador which is a national scheme to try and get young people into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths related courses and ultimately careers. It’s a useful scheme as local schools and colleges get in touch with a co-ordinator who then emails around the ambassadors to let us know the opportunities to go and help, and also cover things like CRB checks and insurance.
Some of the things I’ve done recently are: give first interviews to a year 11 group, attended careers evenings, work experience, group tours, and speak about my own career and what qualifications and experiences I’ve needed to get to my current role. It’s especially interesting to talk about what functions we require in factories – people are astonished when I talk about Boxford having chartered engineers, accountants, degree qualified microbiologists, safety specialists even a Geologist (although as Site Leader I’m not sure the Rock Hammer comes out that regularly – only in my PDR sessions!).
The other benefit for us as PepsiCo is that it gives us exposure: firstly to attract some great potential into schemes such as Engineering Apprentices which we’re currently working on for 2012, secondly it gives us some great local credibility – in talking to some parents at a careers evening they asked “why are you here – is it to give out juice” my answer “we are giving out juice, but we’re also interested in your son’s career” – the following conversation concluded around the parent asking for him to be added to our potential apprentices list and congratulating us for being one of only three companies (out of about 25 stands) to be encouraging local young people into employment!
STEMnet is national – I’d really encourage you to join up and get involved.