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.
Jane Langton, Press Engineer, Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
The question of ‘why?’ has continued to drive Jane Langton’s curiosity since she was a child.
From interrogating her parents about the function of a household device as a small girl, to breaking down social stereotypes at university and in the workplace, her natural inquisitiveness and love for all things tech are the essential ingredients for a career in the world of manufacturing.
Jane serves as a press shop engineer for Nissan in the North East of England. She graduated from Northumbria University with a Master’s degree (MSc) in Mechanical Engineering, before embarking on a graduate scheme with the car manufacturer in 2016.
But before all that, she encountered a certain product design teacher at A Level who inflamed her appetite for the career that was still ahead of her.
“He was completely open to anything. Obviously, as a girl, I was in the minority of people doing those sorts of subjects. But he was like, ‘Yeah, let’s make whatever you want, the world’s your oyster’. He couldn’t care what your background was. If you wanted to do it, he would support you. Everything was really hands-on too. I had a go at welding, milling and turning. All the practical experience really helped cement my understanding.”
Celebrating seven years of inspirational industry leaders
Launched 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.
Jane’s parents have also been instrumental in forming her attitudes as a young woman, removing the notion that there were any boundaries preventing her from reaching her true potential.
“We don’t have any engineers in the family, but my parents never said it was something I couldn’t do. They told me, ‘If you want to do it, work hard and you can do whatever you want’.
“Whenever I’ve faced discrimination, they said, ‘Just rise above it, just keep going’. I’ve been frustrated at times. As a woman – whether at university, on placement or coming into work – you kind of have to prove that you’re competent at the job. There’s still a stigma, but I do think times are changing and things are getting better.”
Jane’s decision to undertake the Nissan graduate scheme was rooted in the structure and opportunity it promised and because it meant she could continue living in the North East where she had bought and renovated a property while studying.
Alongside her career, Jane inspires the next generation of manufacturers in her hometown by discussing her enthusiasm for STEM subjects in school.
“I think the importance and impact of STEM across all industries and the opportunities it can present is often overlooked. If you’re interested in STEM and apply yourself, it doesn’t matter what your social identifiers are.”
In their own words
What is your favourite engineered/manufactured product?
My favourite engineered product is the smartphone. I also have a lot of respect for all the engineering feats of William Armstrong, he was so far ahead of his time and had a big impact on the North East.
Please give one interesting fact about yourself that not many people know.
Something people may not know about me is that I used to work as a princess, a superhero and even an elf at Christmas.
If you weren’t in manufacturing what would your dream job be?
An equestrian athlete. It requires something else for your teammate to be half-a-tonne of horse, and it’s one of the only sports where men and women compete against each other. I’m lucky that I balance my career at Nissan with owning and training my young horse, Morris.
Meet our other 2019 Exemplars:
- Will Bridgman – Warren Services
- Michael Higgins – Ford Motor Company
- James Grainger – Grainger and Worrell
- Joern Behrenroth – FEV UK
- Paul Jones – Morgan Furniture
- Ayesha Lumsden – Jaguar Land Rover
- Jane Langton – Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK
- David Owen – Lintott Control Systems
Every week, The Manufacturer will highlight an individual named as an Exemplar of UK industry in 2019.