Meet The Manufacturer Top 100 2019 Exemplars – 6: Ayesha Lumsden

The Manufacturer Top 100 is a project that showcases the most dynamic leaders, young pioneers and unsung heroes working in UK manufacturing, all of which have been nominated by their peers.

Among the Top 100, however, our judging panel chose 20 individuals for special recognition. We call them ‘Exemplars’ – those who have exemplified remarkable leadership, daring or innovation within their respective field, and who set the direction of travel as we head into the new decade.

Ayesha Lumsden, Project Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover

Ayesha Lumsden JLR
Ayesha Lumsden, Project Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover

It was witnessing her mother bear the burden traditionally shared by two parents that first instilled an indomitable spirit in a young Ayesha Lumsden.

In her father’s absence, Ayesha’s mother became the central figure in her childhood, teaching the would-be engineer that there was nothing in life preventing her from getting ahead.

“She is my biggest inspiration, undoubtedly. It was just me and her growing up and I saw her doing everything around the house – repairs, DIY and maintenance. I learned early on that women could do just what men do. She convinced me there were no limits because of my gender, that I could do anything. My mum was definitely a massive role model, the way she handled everything.”

Ayesha is a mechanical engineer for Jaguar Land Rover, with much of her career spent in the automotive industry. She got her manufacturing break with the Ford Motor Company back in 2015, working as a special vehicle engineer.

From there she moved into vehicle integration with the car manufacturer, before embarking on an operational management scheme with Vauxhall.

“I was selected through a rigorous application process to fill one of three positions on Vauxhall’s management scheme. I undertook placements across Vauxhall’s Luton plant in manufacturing engineering, supply chain, health and safety, production and maintenance. This also included time in the press, paint and body shop and general assembly.”

Celebrating seven years of inspirational industry leaders

The Manufacturer Top 100 Logo 2019 - For Use in Slider BarLaunched in 2014, The Manufacturer Top 100 publicly recognises the most dynamic leaders and innovators in manufacturing.

Published by The Manufacturer, in partnership with Cranfield University, one of the country’s top centres of business education, the project is helping to dispel widely-held myths that vibrant manufacturing in the UK is a thing of the past.

Click here to make your nomination for The Manufacturer Top 100 2020, and to download a copy of the 2019 publication.

While at Jaguar Land Rover, Ayesha served under the interior trim team as an engineer and problem solving engineer within the Castle Bromwich plant, working on carpets, load spaces and doors.

Before long the Loughborough University graduate was made a project engineer, and latterly cabin engineer, which sees her responsible for the design and delivery of parts on future vehicle lines. She is also on track to reach chartered status within 12 months.

“The biggest challenge I face is really what I’m doing now, I’m responsible for parts on future vehicles. I’ve moved from a quality role, dealing with issues around warranty, to dealing with ultimate responsibility for design, manufacturing, and fitting. It does give me a chance to use my extensive product knowledge, which is nice. It’s a huge challenge and we work to very tight deadlines, but it’s really worth it when it all comes to fruition.”


In their own words

What is your favourite engineered/manufactured product?

Self-driving vehicles. As an automotive engineer, I already have a passion for new technology and feel that self-driving cars will change the future of transport forever. It’s amazing to be in the industry that is driving such massive change.

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

I spent four years as a licensed door supervisor, or ‘bouncer’. I liked the reactive element of the role, having to think on the spot. It’s energising, having to manage risk.

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

It would be something to do with animal rescue. I’ve always loved animals and I really can’t stand hearing about them being in danger.


The Manufacturer Top 100 is produced in partnership with Cranfield University – one of the country’s top centres of business education, and low-cost talent partner, Trust Hunter Ltd (Hunter).