Pam Murrell chief executive,
Cast Metals Federation

What is your current role?

Chief executive of the Cast Metals Federation, CMF – the Trade Association for the UK castings and foundry industry.

What does that involve on a day-to-day basis?

My role is to ensure we support our members, providing relevant information and data, arranging networking meetings, events and representing the industry. I spend a lot of time visiting companies, writing news items and reports, arranging surveys as well as convening and chairing meetings. The role is varied which makes it very interesting as there are always new challenges.

How did you get started working in STEM?

I first took up a project researcher role at an independent research and consultancy organisation before working on several technical consultancy projects. I then moved into work with Membership Organisations, initially as the technical officer at a professional body in the engineering sector, before becoming the chief executive.

What qualifications did you take or gain along the way?

At school I liked lots of subjects, but preferred short answers to writing essays! So I opted for science A levels and then did a BSc Degree in Metallurgy & Materials at University.

After an exchange year in France, I took up a research assistant role at Cranfield University on an industrially sponsored project, which also led to me being able to complete a PhD (Doctorate). This was a test of tenacity in the end, but I don’t regret making the effort and I think being able to use the title Dr has given me a degree of additional credibility when meeting new people from industry.

Why do you love working in STEM?

Being involved in engineering and manufacturing is rewarding as it relates very closely to the real world – making the things that we use in everyday life. Currently, there is a real focus on sustainability and the drive to net zero, so this is going to be very important work to be involved with. There is an international community in the castings sector which provides lots of opportunities to travel and attend international events.

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

I am fairly pragmatic and look for the positives, rather than get too distracted by challenges or obstacles.

I was made redundant when my children were young, which was worrying, knowing that I only wanted to work part-time, which I did for 10 years, earning little more than the cost of my childcare initially, but taking the long view that I was keeping my hand-in and making connections, and then, in time, I could increase my hours.

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

I would just say to enjoy it, be professional and retain your sense of humour.

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

More visibility for those in the sector would be a positive. I look for opportunities to invite women onto our Councils, but this is not easy when there are so few to call upon. We should ensure any young women feel they can have support, if indeed they feel that they need it.

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