International Women’s Day – a day where we celebrate women worldwide. This year’s theme asks all of us to challenge gender bias and inequality and choose to celebrate women’s achievements.
At Hi-Tech, as we reflect on this, we can only be proud of the amazing women who are an integral part of Hi-Tech’s success and make 42% of our workforce. This is a considerable difference from the 25% and 21.8% of women that make the manufacturing industry’s labour force and the engineering industry’s labour force respectively. We are proud to empower and rely on our female team leaders, supervisors, junior managers and senior leaders which make 61.5% of our Operational Leadership and 14% of our Senior Leadership Team.
Next, we want to introduce you to a few of these women whose stories have inspired us to write this article.
Alex Hillman – Head of Sales & Technical Projects
Alex has had an inspiring journey at Hi-Tech having started as a placement student and having thrived and progressed to being a key member of the Senior Leadership Team. Alex had shown a keen interest in technical and science subjects at school which led her in pursuing a Product Design Degree. Alex first joined Hi-Tech as an undergraduate placement student and returned as a Design Engineer within our Design Department after graduating. She then moved into a leading role and managing the Design Department which was her first management role within the business.
Alex’s technical aptitude made it ideal for her to move into an Account Management role, leading customer interactions and quotations. Her technical expertise in combination with her interpersonal and customer focus skills lead her into a Technical Projects Manager role which progress into her becoming the Head of Technical Projects and to her latest role of Head of Sales & Technical Projects. Since joining the Senior Leadership Team, she has not been afraid to ask difficult questions and challenge existing practices. Alex is now one of our key mentoring partners encouraging, sharing skills and experiences with female mentees from different departments. Alex has been an invaluable member of Hi-Tech and the Senior Leadership Team and her journey within Hi-Tech is inspiring. Upon reflecting on her journey, Alex remembers engineering and technical roles being a male subject that women did not approach, however, this did not stop her from pursuing an engineering career. When talking about Hi-Tech, Alex commented on the relationships and rapport she has built which has made being a female in a male-dominated environment much easier. Alex shared her thoughts on becoming a member of the Senior Leadership Team and commented that the Senior Leadership Team needed to be more diverse and since joining, she feels that the team is more balanced.
We are proud to have been a part of Alex’s success journey so far and we look forward to continuing seeing her achieve remarkable things as a key part of Hi-Tech’s Senior Leadership team.
Beth May – Apprentice Toolmaker
Beth is undertaking a toolmaking apprenticeship within our in-house tool room. Her role focuses on providing production support, configuring & setting tools as well as optimising standard operations to manufacture tools effectively. Beth has been trained to programme and use a CNC milling machine and a variety of other machines and ancillary equipment. Beth has always had an interest in engineering and has enjoyed working at Hi-Tech as it gives her the opportunity to see a mould from the design, to tooling, to it being produced.
We are excited to see Beth joining our toolroom as a qualified Toolmaker and being part of her career journey.
Holly Boalch – Junior design & development engineer
Holly is undertaking a 1-year placement as a Junior design & development engineer as part of her BSc (Hons) in Product Design and Innovation. In her role, Holly provides production support, designs fixtures and jigs using 3D CAD systems, 3D printing or utilising our in house toolroom. Holly expresses a passion for engineering design and being able to provide innovative solutions. Holly enjoys the challenge of working from a theoretical concept to making it work in practice. Holly shows an ability in being creative and innovative. Holly has enjoyed working at Hi-Tech as it gives her the opportunity to work on projects from initial design through to overseeing product manufacture. Holly’s progress within the business has been impressive, and she has been coordinating introduction the of a CoBot.
We are excited to see where Holly’s career takes her, and we hope to see her return as a permanent employee after finishing her studies.
At Hi-Tech we proud ourselves to be a diverse and inclusive employer and we continue with our commitment of ensuring that all employees are treated equally and with respect. As we challenge ourselves, we commit to continue making opportunities available equally and with no bias, encourage women to join our team, and celebrate their achievements and successes.