At Siemens’ Answers for Industry event in July, Louise Anderson made a powerful impact on older, more experienced and perhaps more jaded industry representatives with her confidently expressed views on the appeal of manufacturing to young people. Here she tells TM more about her own career to date.
LA: I’m an environmental assistant working in the facilities department at Vauxhall Ellesmere Port Manufacturing Plant. I joined the team for one year as an undergraduate half way through my degree. My main responsibilities are to assist the team in ensuring the site performs to and above the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard and the Wildlife Habitat Certification. I’ve also been in charge of increasing environmental and energy awareness and communication.
TM: What are the key skills you use?
LA: My role requires a lot of communication including persuasion, presenting and negotiating. I need to be organised and plan well in advance for any upcoming audits to ensure we score highly.
TM: What personal characteristics help you in your role?
LA: I’m quite confident and can talk to a wide variety of people which is really important when working in such a large plant. I learn easily and I’ve been told I come across as very enthusiastic and passionate about the environment!
TM: What do you consider to be your biggest personal success at the company so far?
LA: This year I’ve been managing a project to increase awareness of manufacturing by visiting local schools. We have created a two hour session to inspire and educate students about the variety of jobs in the manufacturing industry and to overcome the stereotypes of manufacturing. I’ve had to manage the team of 20 undergraduates and to date we have visited over 3,000 students!
TM: Why is this important?
LA: The team broke a site record for visiting the largest number of students in one year and the feedback told us that 75% of students we met would now consider a career in manufacturing.
TM: What first attracted you to a career in manufacturing?
LA: I was looking for some work experience in the environment sector and found this position through my university. I was attracted to the job because I knew I would learn a vast amount in a small time frame. I thought the manufacturing industry would give me a great insight into the huge amount of legislation, regulation and standards involved with environment, waste and energy and I have not been let down!
TM: What will your next career move be? I’m going back to university to finish my degree and will be working two part time jobs to fund my studies. After University I hope to find employment within a large international organisation that has sustainability at the heart of its business.
TM: Do you have a grand career ambition?
LA: I would love to be in a position where I can really push sustainability and influence others to do the same.
TM: How do you think best to get more young people interested in manufacturing?
LA: I believe manufacturers should go and visit local schools and invite all the students into the factory. Show the students how you build the products they use, tell the students about the varied and exciting careers available and inspire them with the technology and future of the industry.