Industrial placement students and graduate engineers at 3M in Newton Aycliffe have created a video to highlight the diverse people and careers in the manufacturing sector.
The science-based technology firm says it’s an inspirational resource, developed as part of a joint initiative with the British Science Association called #SmashingStereotypes.
It aims to challenge the stereotypical image that many young people have of engineers and to dispel the common perception that most technological breakthroughs are the result of individuals working alone.
By raising awareness of the career opportunities and types of people working in a fast-paced manufacturing environment, 3M aims to encourage and inspire young people to consider this in their study options and future career.
“The video features interviews with a range of employees at the manufacturing plant which makes personal protective equipment including respirators,” said a 3M statement.
“The plant has been at the forefront of 3M’s drive to supply respirators during the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Interviewees include Lisa Fletcher, a manufacturing technology engineer, Alice Quinn and Sami Tesfayohannes, both graduate manufacturing technology engineers, Jaipal Sachdev, a senior project engineer and LGBT+ champion and plant manager, Paul Hind.
Subjects discussed are how people in science and engineering are commonly perceived (although the reality is very different), what they love about their jobs, their role in advancing manufacturing technology, the benefits of working in a diverse team, plus career advice based on what they’d do differently at the start of their career.
The video showcases real life experiences of people from different backgrounds, gender and culture and highlights the many benefits of and satisfaction from a career in engineering and manufacturing including variety and challenges of the role; opportunities to learn and progress; as well as highlighting how diversity helps to drive innovative thinking
According to the report, Engineering UK 2020, there is a widespread lack of awareness about engineering and what engineers do and young people often doubt their ability to succeed in STEM.
Their report, 2019 Engineering UK report highlighted that 124,00 engineers and technicians will be needed annually up to 2024.
Furthermore, 2019 workforce statistics from WISE (Women into Science and Engineering) show that females only account for just over 10 per cent of engineering professionals.
Within manufacturing too, the Annual Manufacturing Report 2020, states that British Manufacturers are facing the largest shortage of skilled workers since 1989.
“This video is just one of the many ways that 3M is helping to inspire the next generation in manufacturing and STEM careers,” added the company.
• Pictured above (top row, left to right) Graduate manufacturing technology engineer Alice Quinn, senior project engineer Jaipal Sachdev, senior manufacturing technology engineer Lisa Fletcher; (bottom row, l-r): Graduate manufacturing technology engineer Sami Tesfayohannes, advanced product engineer Ione Santos and plant manager Paul Hind.