Meet The Manufacturer Top 100 2020 Exemplars: Claire Jarvis

The Manufacturer TOP100 is an annual celebration of one hundred people working in the UK manufacturing industry that are making a significant impact. As we ask you to nominate someone you think deserves to be recognised this year we take a look back at some of our winners from 2020.

The Manufacturer TOP100 celebrates people going that extra mile in the manufacturing industry. Registrations are now open to nominate someone you think deserves to be recognised in 2021. As we look forward to this year’s winners being announced during Digital Manufacturing Week 2021 in Liverpool in November, we take a look back at some of our 2020 Exemplar award winners. Each year, a select number of the TOP100 are chosen by our judging panel for special recognition, we call them ‘Exemplars’.

Claire Jarvis Deputy Quality Manager, GKN Aerospace

Claire was inspired by her Dad, a manufacturing manager, to follow a career into manufacturing. Leaving school Claire went straight into working for her Dad’s company. Working through the different departments, including production, Claire spent 7 years there before progressing to become an engineer at GKN.

Feeling quite daunted initially by others who had who had higher qualifications, Claire’s story is inspirational for other young people who want to get into manufacturing but not necessarily through an academic route, as Claire articulates, “It can be quite daunting. You’ve got people that have been to university and then studying a masters or doing an apprenticeship, but there are other ways to go about it. There’s no right or wrong way in life.”

On her current role at GKN Claire reflects, “I’m really fortunate that I work with such a dynamic team. I work with a lot of people inside and outside the organisation. I’ve got a fantastic department that work under me – they
inspire me, because they’re all such different characters and they’ve all come from different backgrounds. I think it’s good to pull on different people’s experiences, all from different age ranges. There is just a wealth of knowledge within a small team. And in the wider business there are so many different characters. People are genuinely interested in wanting to help you and that makes me happy going to work. I enjoy my role, it’s always challenging and we’re working on an exciting range of products and I’ve also been lucky to employ people and develop people. And that’s great job satisfaction when you know that only if you performed well but you’ve made a difference to somebody else’s career that day as well.”

When asked about her greatest achievement and challenge in her career, Claire said she had the same answer for both and it was no surprise that this happened in 2020 for Claire played a role in the Ventilator Challenge – a vital project that saw manufacturers come together in a time of national emergency.

On that experience Claire says, “It was fantastic. That was so exciting, because as much as the country and the world were in a really bad place – the country was in throes of lockdown – I was able to go into work every single day, and really help contribute to such big projects. We had an integrated program team specifically for the ventilators that our start director headed up and he really drove this this hard and it was just exciting. Every day was so different, it was so fast paced, and you constantly had this feeling that you’re doing something really, really good for the country. It wasn’t like making any other products – this project was sort of magnified, as the country was in lockdown. We really were helping the government at that moment and we’re making all these ventilators to save people’s live and it was just an achievement. In addition to managing our normal workload as well – it was very busy, very full on but so exciting. And I think we’re all so proud that we could be involved and do good for the country”.

In their own words

What is your favourite engineered/manufactured product?

Engineering that benefits the environment/people – i.e. projects such as the Seabin project which is a floating bin that collects ocean waste (simple but incredible!)

Please give one interesting fact about yourself that not many people know. 

When younger, I performed in London as part of a theatre training group

If you weren’t in manufacturing what would your dream job be? 

A lawyer