50 Young People Making Manufacturing Smarter part 3

Covid-19 has affected many aspects of business, but one element that needn’t be compromised, and is more crucial than ever, is the ability to network and collaborate.

We’ve all heard the phrase “your network is your net worth”, and with today’s world-changing at a dynamic pace and advancements in innovation happening across all sectors, this couldn’t be more true.

Connecting with a wider professional network can often lead to building a community filled with knowledgeable, valuable and resourceful people, as well as a plethora of partnerships and collaboration opportunities.

Due to the extensive breadth of applications and specialties within the manufacturing sector, ensuring diversity of skills and knowledge is now more important than ever before.

Meaningful diverse relationships can provide significant opportunities to broaden your thinking and challenge your ideas, often leading to a sustainable path to success.

Innovate UK’s Young Innovators Programme demonstrates that innovative ideas can come from anyone, regardless of age or background, which is something The Manufacturer and KTN are passionate about showcasing.

Harnessing the creativity of youth can lead to new solutions, diverse ideas, passion and expertise critical to developing innovative solutions that tackle pressing societal challenges.

Young Innovators Award winner, Folu Ogunyeye, reflects on why networking and collaborating across diverse sectors, and listening to younger voices, is so beneficial for entrepreneurs and businesses.

“Young people have unique perspectives on problems and this can turn into amazing solutions with the right support. Talk to lots of different people about your idea to hear lots of perspectives. Whilst not everyone is a potential customer, others might be able to point you towards relevant opportunities and communities where you can get more support.”

This series is a first step in sharing the voices and ideas of those to whom the future belongs. Let’s take this opportunity to connect, collaborate and listen.

Read part one and part two here.


Elen Parry – Manchester Metropolitan University

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

The opportunity to disrupt conventional manufacturing techniques and develop smarter and more efficient ways of working, resulting in better performing and more sustainable solutions.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

My interest in manufacturing started on my undergraduate degree in Three Dimensional Design, which gave me the opportunity to experience different ways of making, from traditional craft based methods, to new digital technologies. This hybrid way of working allowed me to appreciate and see the value in both ways of working. I became comfortable switching between different disciplines and different ways of working to reach the most appropriate outcome. I started using additive manufacturing (AM) for custom products, where I saw huge potential for the disruption and innovation of medical device and assistive product industries. This led to a biomedical engineering PhD exploring the potential of Fused Filament Fabrication, combined with other digital techniques, to innovate conventional methods and provide more effective and sustainable solutions. In the future, I see myself pushing the boundaries of what is currently possible through design innovation and digital manufacturing techniques.


Ben Smith – Addition Design

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

The unique opportunities to gain extensive knowledge within the design process: Witnessing various customers’ product innovations and introducing them to production and the unique inhouse innovations that help achieve success.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

Introduced to manufacturing through a KTP, helping improve internal processes, I was heavily involved in taking a recent product development project through the manufacturing process. Various tooling iterations, refining the assembly process as well as the product branding, it certainly kickstarted my career. Working at this company for 5 years helped gain knowledge in that unique stage between design completion and manufacturing handover. However, I had always been attracted to additive manufacturing, the technology is exciting, and the possibilities are expansive! Having completed a part time MBA using the KTP personal growth funding, I had numerous ideas in leveraging the technology within my own start-up. However, this changed after collaborating with Addition as a freelance designer, on a COVID-19 project. Meeting the team, Addition were exploring how this manufacturing technology could be introduced to businesses properly, educating them and utilising the technology to offer unique solutions that increase profits.


Yousef Bhacker – AMRC

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

I am most excited about applying advanced technologies to 1) optimise current manufacturing processes and 2) enable new processes and products that have never before been implemented.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

I am a recent engineering graduate beginning my career in manufacturing. Whilst I am consistently amazed by the developments made in the manufacturing sector every year, I believe there is a long way to go to make processes as efficient as they can be. Eliminating waste in manufacturing processes, new and old, is the key issue that I aspire to address. The adoption of automation, digital technologies, and manufacturing informatics are just some of the areas I believe can assist in this goal. If we can eliminate waste and non-value added activities, we can dedicate more time, resources, and effort towards the development of the next great invention that will change the world. I envision this as a device, process, or system that society will use every day for years to come. If I can be a part of this change, then I will consider my career a success.


Harry Butcher – Chartwell Consulting Ltd

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

No two days in a manufacturing career are the same. Whether shop floor problem-solving, planning the installation of new equipment, or trialling improvement ideas, each day brings a new challenge.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

After graduating with a Manufacturing Engineering degree from Cambridge University, and following a manufacturing internship at Rolls-Royce, I joined an operations consultancy specialising in “hands-on” continuous improvement in factories and chemical plants. Highlights so far include: developing and introducing a method for eliminating unnecessary changeovers in a Dutch conveyor belt factory; solving to root cause a problem for a German adhesives manufacturer that reduced output by >20%; and improving the cycle time of an Irish pharmaceutical plant producing life-saving Coronavirus drugs by a double-digit percentage.

I have seen first-hand the transformational impact of introducing data and prioritisation into factories. Given the wider macrotrend for becoming ‘data-driven’, to remain competitive British and European manufacturers will need to be able to generate, analyse, and use data to prioritise and inform continuous improvement efforts. I see myself in a role that uses innovation to enable manufacturers to drive data-driven improvements at low cost.


Sara Berkai – Ambessa Play

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

It’s exciting to see an idea turn into something tangible which children can learn, tinker and build upon – almost magical.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

My background is in technology/business and I would volunteer in edtech roles whilst working at various companies. Watching children build STEM kits with their hands, and the positive influence this had on their self-efficacy was exciting. I’ve launched an edtech startup, Ambessa Play, building STEM toy kits and for every kit purchased, a displaced child out of school receives one for free.

Learning a lot very quickly so far but grateful for introductory spaces. My previous university had an ‘Institute of Making’ open for all students, introducing us to 3D printing, sewing, pottery and so on. In the future, I see myself building Ambessa Play and experimenting with different physical computing tools children can work/play with.


Ben Cook – Siemens

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

Modern machines are capable of consuming and producing masses of data, and this brings a wealth of opportunity alongside robotics for an age of personalised products manufactured at large scale.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

After graduating in 2015 with a BEng(Hons) in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, I started as a Graduate Engineer for an SME specialising in motion control & automation within manufacturing. A little over a year later I was promoted to Automation Engineer. During this employment, I consulted for and supported clients from multiple industries on a range of automation applications.

In 2019 I moved to Siemens as a Test Engineer at their manufacturing facility in Congleton; one year later I was promoted to Test Engineering Team Leader – my current position. So far, I’ve been involved in a multitude of projects, ranging from cybersecurity to automated product testing systems. In 2020 I achieved Chartered Engineer status with The IET and I am now pursuing an MBA, due to graduate in 2022. In the future, I aspire to drive digitalisation strategy to enable short lead times on personalised products.


Reuben Mitchell – Tribosonics Ltd

What excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

Manufacturing: the collaboration of few to create something meaningful for many. With robotics now leading the way, new problems are emerging. Making us the problem solvers. Now that is exciting.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

As an aspiring robotics engineer, it was not until A Level Computer Science that I fell in love with the art of robotics. My coursework: a robotic arm that played checkers, accepting commands from a website. It incorporated three levels of artificial intelligence including both single player and multiplayer options. Since then, I have built and designed many robotic projects. From mine detecting hexapods to a fully working automated bar.

Moving forward, as a Mechatronic and Robotic Engineering graduate, I plan to help lead the advancements in technologies that will assist those with life limiting disabilities. Developments such as prosthetic limbs, cognitive implants and eye tracking communication devices have already reached the public market. However, I believe we have only just scratched the surface of assistive technology, and I am looking forward to advancing the field of software and robotics.


Luke Hickson – Fabricon

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

It’s a fast paced and creative environment where no day is the same. Each project is a new challenge and a new opportunity to learn and develop my skills.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

After a degree in Mechanical Engineering, I completed a Masters in Industrial Digitalisation at Print City, Manchester Metropolitan University’s additive and digital manufacturing centre. I secured a placement at Fabricon Design through the Made Smarter Digital Internship programme, helping to implement additive manufacturing and digital technology within the business. Following the placement, I was offered a position at Fabricon as a Design and Development Engineer and have since been using my skills in the design and development of customer products and solutions for improving workshop efficiency. Along with this, I have been learning about programming and operating CNC machinery. I find my job very rewarding as I love being hands-on and creative. While I don’t know where the future will take me exactly, I’m really excited about the electric vehicle landscape and would love to be able to use my skills to help manufacture a smarter and greener world.


Zachariah Johnson – Geomiq

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

To work within the essential manufacturing infrastructure critical to the UK and Global Recovery. Especially now when COVID-19 has pushed Manufacturing companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed the industry forever.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

Shortly after completing my Aerospace engineering degree I joined Geomiq, just over 1 year ago. Together we’ve grown from only 10 people into a company of 30 and counting. Sitting as Head of Operations I am working hard to transform the manufacturing industry as we know it. Bringing Manufacturing Supply chains to the digital and agile age.

More recently my focus post Brexit is to further accelerate the significant shift to glocalisation as businesses focus on balancing localized + globalized supply chain options in order to stay competitive. Currently I’m working tirelessly to rapidly re-shore our supply chain to the UK. A truly once in a generational opportunity for a digitally enabled UK Manufacturing Industry for solutions such as Geomiq & our Manufacturing Partners.

My future very much belongs amongst the stars that cascade across the abyss. Alongside developing my cousin and I’s space propulsion start-up, I one day hope to help reshape + determine the direction of the UK Space Industry.


Happy Dudee – Valuechain

manufacturingWhat excites you most about a career in manufacturing?

Manufacturing is an essential skill. Most things we use today are manufactured to suit our style or help perform a task well. Within this there is huge scope of innovation as things can always be done better and so manufacturing is ever green, essential and has potential to go through sustained transformation hand in hand with technological advancements.

How did you start your journey and where you see your future?

My name is Happy Dudee. I am currently employed in the capacity of Projects Director with Valuechain Enterprises Limited. Valuechain is a software product company that aims to digitally connect all stages of manufacturing value chain. My role involves product strategy leadership, project management and SaaS sales growth globally. Prior to this, I graduated top of my class with a first-class M.Sc. degree from Queen Mary, University of London.I bring a strong academic background with varied international work experience (India, Dubai and the UK).

Over the past four years, I have worked extensively with manufacturers who are at the bottom of digital ladder. I’ve helped them take incremental steps towards their digital maturity.
In 2017, I have successfully established Valuechain’s subsidiary office in India. I have explored manufacturing ecosystems in countries including, Canada, Australia, South Korea and mainland Europe as part of developing distribution channels and partnerships.

I am a PRINCE 2 Practitioner, I secured us a prominent partner role as the Business and Network Intelligence lead in EFPF (European Factory Platform) project (H2020 funded) which aims to build a unified manufacturing portal for european manufacturers and their digital needs. Similarly, I have used my position and contacts to establish key innovation partnerships in digital manufacturing for Valuechain.


*All images supplied by participants.