A letter from us to you. #womensday
Every moment of our lives is consumed by manufacturing. From the minute we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, from the mug we drink from to the phone we scroll on, it’s all manufactured one way or another!
To celebrate International Women’s Day, we thought we’d share with you what it’s like to be a woman in manufacturing, the good the bad, the not too ugly and any advice we can offer to girls out there considering a career in this very important and rewarding sector!
A little bit about us!
We have an incredible team of females here at AE Aerospace. In accounts, we have our amazing Janet who has had a career spanning over 25 years. She works with the glamorous Mya, who is not only our accounts apprentice, but also a full-time dancer/part time snacker! We also have lovely Michalina who moved to England in 2006 from Poland. She enrolled herself into English classes, before going onto university and then going on to become our production planner! Next up, exceptional Reka, who moved to England aged 19, has worked in various sectors, built her experience and is now our Engineering Technician. We also have delightful Steph, our CI apprentice, who completed her level 3 in mechanical engineering before joining us, followed by bubbly Georgia, our craft apprentice who always knew Engineering was the sector for her. Lastly, exultant Jamie, our Marketing and Communications Apprentice; with a background in psychology but a passion for creativity!
We thought you’d like to know what motivated us to work in the manufacturing sector. For some, it was intrigue and passion stemmed from our role models. Steph’s interest sparked whilst she was at school and loved STEM. For Reka, it was being daddy’s girl and always helping him fix things! For others, it was working in different industries before finding the right fit! Janet ‘doesn’t like corporate’ and ‘loves the SME environment where colleagues become friends’. For Michalina, it was ‘loving the challenges and being pushed to the limits’. We all agreed, this industry has no time for boredom. It is irrelevant what position you work in, you are always encouraged to do better, be better, to challenge existing processes, to grow!
We know, women contribute 26% to manufacturing roles, and this can be a frightening statistic. At AE, 8 of our 66 employees are female but this just didn’t seem to matter to us! We agree, taking the step into the sector can be challenging, but once you’re here ‘do what you do and let the work speak for itself!’- as Jamie explained, ‘let’s push past that statistic, and not let a number scare us away!’
You may wonder why there are less women in manufacturing? We’re here! We’re maybe just not on all the posters! Janet explained that growing up it was always referred to as a ‘mans job’ and women were in turn exposed to different careers considered conventionally ‘women’s jobs’. Whilst Mya added that she ‘didn’t understand why her friend wanted to be an engineer at school’, but now she’s ‘surrounded by women in the sector’ and is ‘proud to be a part of it!’. Is it the lack of exposure? Steph pointed out that at school ‘they didn’t emphasise manufacturing careers’, and the lack of women she saw represented on careers days or events left her debating if she really wanted to go down the manufacturing route. We get it! Thinking of stepping into a career where you are the minority can be frightening or leave you feeling like you’re not capable! But we are here to tell you that you are! Michalina pointed out that ‘the emergence of new technologies has eliminated the limitations previously posed by job roles that involved heavy lifting’. So now, the only person stopping you is yourself!
Finally, what’s a letter without some advice at the end of it? Deciding what you want to do as a career can be overwhelming. but saying no to manufacturing roles just because you are a female shouldn’t be a contributor to that decision! Janet thinks you should explore different avenues, ‘yes, education is important… but life experience counts for more, so go, LIVE!’. Mya thinks, ‘it doesn’t matter if you don’t quite know who you want to be. Make mistakes!’. From Steph, ‘Don’t let others influence you’ whilst Michalina highlighted ‘do what makes you happy, your time is valuable. If you think you can do it – you can do it, don’t let anyone stop you and put you in a box.’ Reka added ‘pay attention at school’ but recognises that if it wasn’t for the choices she made, the journey she took, she wouldn’t be where she is today! Lastly, Georgia added ‘don’t listen to your mum!’
We get it, it can be daunting! The saying ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ comes to mind. But we hope this letter lets you know that we are here, and we are thriving, and we can’t wait for you to join!
The biggest barrier is yourself. You can, and you will.
We hope that this article inspires a female to chase her dreams.
You got this!
The AE Girls