Make it in Great Britain Industry Champion – Steve Eastham

Steve Eastham - Tata Global Beverages

Steve Eastham

Vice President of Operations at Tata Global Beverages

How has your company engaged with young people and the community to improve the image of manufacturing?

We recently launched the ‘Tata Global Beverages Re-imagination Scholarships’ with Brunel University. The scholarships are a first for Tata Global Beverages (TGB), and they form part of our social mobility initiative, which is a long-term commitment to create fairer opportunities for young people to achieve their potential.

The Re-imagination scholarships aim to provide financial support to students who are positively shaping their future by studying for degrees at the highly-regarded Brunel University, which is a stone’s throw from our head office in Uxbridge and is renowned for incubating creativity and innovation.

On a local basis from the UK based factory, we regularly arrange factory tours and Q&A sessions for local schools, and visit schools to talk on sustainability and environmental issues that affect business. We are also financially supporting one of our most local schools with their solar panel project, to generate a sustainable source of energy for the future.

What have you personally done to improve youth engagement with manufacturing?

Make it in Great Britain is the first commitment that I have made to focus on youth engagement with manufacturing. I chose to be an industry champion because I love being an industrial manager! The opportunities in industry are exciting , amazing and incredibly diverse. They have taken me all over the world, working in Asia, America, Australia and Europe. I have experienced living and working in the Far East, and I am currently working in Russia and the Czech Republic, as well as the UK.

My specialism is Operations Management and Supply Chain, but there are also great opportunities in engineering, science, food technology, procurement, finance, logistics and human resources. Finally, we should not forget the opportunities for young people who start out in manual jobs in industry, but who have every chance to rise up the organisation.

At TGB, we offer a wide range of NVQ training for young people in the business, with the opportunity to move up to The Institute of Leadership and Management programme once they have passed their NVQ’s.

What more needs to be done?

TGB, from a manufacturing competitiveness viewpoint, has developed in leaps and bounds over the past four or five years, and I think many other businesses that we benchmark with have developed very quickly too.

There are a large number of businesses that are now world class standard and can genuinely be great places to start and develop a career for even the most capable young people.

Industry needs to start publicising just how good many of our business are across a wide range of sectors – it is not just financial services were the UK is amongst the best in the world -we have many industrial businesses that are lead the way as well. That’s why Make it in Great Britain is so important.