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INWED 2022 – Rebecca Henry, Graduate Manufacturing Engineer

23 June 2022

For this next instalment in our International Women in Engineering Day program we talk with Rebecca Henry, Graduate Manufacturing Engineer at Universal Wolf. Rebecca has worked at Tharsus Group for almost 7 years, and recently completed her Engineering Degree Apprenticeship with the University of Sunderland. She talks building playhouses with her dad, Formula 1, and how her journey here started.

woman with arms crossed standing in an open factory space

 

Rebecca, welcome! Can you start by telling us what planted the seed for a career in Engineering?

When I was three years old, my dad built me a playhouse in our back garden. And I was there, plastic tools in hand, ready and desperate to help! My dad is a joiner, and my grandad was a tool maker, and that passion for practical problem-solving has definitely inspired me too.

 

How did your journey into engineering begin?

I had actually planned to go to university after completing my A-Levels but had a last-minute change of heart, after a discussion with a friend who was completing a Maintenance Engineering Apprenticeship at Royal Mail. She was so passionate about what she was learning and how she could apply that to her role, and that sounded like just the kind of challenge I was looking for. Universal Wolf’s sister company Tharsus were recruiting for apprentices at the time, I applied and that was that – here I am almost 7 years later, having completed my apprenticeship and my degree apprenticeship in Manufacturing Engineering Practice. I’m now working as Graduate Manufacturing Engineer at Universal Wolf.

 

Are there any female engineers who have particularly inspired you over the years?

We would always watch Formula 1 together as a family. Bernadette Collins, Senior Strategy Engineer for Racing Point Force India Formula 1 Team, was a major inspiration for me. She has worked with racers including Jensen Button and paved the way for other young women who wanted to work in the profession.

 

What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?

I really like the approach that ‘best idea wins’ when you’re working in a group to try to solve a problem. It removes all hierarchy from the situation – whether the suggestion comes from a senior manager, or from a new starter or apprentice, we do the best thing for the business.

 

And finally, what would you say to those people considering entering the sector?

Don’t be afraid to get involved and volunteer your ideas – sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is exactly what a problem needs to find a solution. Get involved!

 

About INWED

International Women in Engineering Day, run by Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is celebrating its 9th year in 2022. Figures as of June 2021 show that 16.5% of engineers are women. INWED gives women engineers around the world a profile when they are still hugely under-represented in their professions. As the only platform of its kind, it plays a vital role in encouraging more young women and girls to take up engineering careers. To learn more visit https://www.inwed.org.uk/