Our mission: To attract, develop and retain a diverse and inclusive mix of people in STEM careers

Sue Roberts – Operations lead at Brandon Medical

What is your current role?

Operations lead at Brandon Medical.

What does that involve, look like on a day-to-day basis?

I look at operational efficiencies to meet the demands of our successful sales team. Building capacity at Brandon Medical involves monitoring stock and finding innovative solutions to rise above the current demands on a turbulent supply chain, defining an improved workflow, machine positioning in our machine shop to provide efficient manufacturing, and working with our software team to develop automated processes for final assembly operations.

How did you get started working in STEM?

It’s hard to say precisely when I started in STEM, as my path into engineering was not a typical one. After starting my career in marketing, I was approached about an opportunity with a forward-thinking monitor manufacturer. I was in my early 20s, so I grasped the chance to move into something new and exciting.

What qualifications did you take or gain along the way?

Those who know me well would say I’m a hard worker with a natural ability to see pragmatic solutions. There’s pressure on young people to achieve academically, but if you have the right attitude and ability to work hard, your skill level should not be a barrier to success.

Why do you love working in STEM?

The people, the variety of the work and the products/services we are helping to create. I love the variety and the need to work to deadlines, ensuring you deliver an exceptional service/product on time and on budget. I get a buzz when I help solve practical engineering problems within the production process.

What challenges have you faced in your career? And how have you overcome them?

Being a woman in engineering has been a challenge. I have had to work hard and be persistent to have a voice – thankfully, the stereotypical view of women in an engineering workplace is changing.

What advice would you offer for someone joining the STEM sectors?

Academically, maths is a must, but practical and problem-solving skills are just as important. Although there is a need for university-educated engineers to move the boundaries of what can be achieved in engineering, I would strongly advise young people to consider apprenticeship routes as well.

What do we need to do as an industry to attract and keep more women in STEM?

We need to show young women that careers in STEM are exciting, flexible, and rewarding. We know women are underrepresented and employers are starting to understand a more equal gender balance is better for their businesses in terms of achievement and cohesion.

We should encourage our employers to engage with girls in schools, showing them what jobs are out there and what they could achieve.

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