23rd June is National Women in Engineering Day (NWED). This is an International awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus on the amazing career opportunities available to girls in this exciting industry. PEME is a strong advocate of encouraging women into engineering and to celebrate NWED, our very own Lucy Fitch provides an insight into a typical day for her.
Lucy joined PEME as a mechanical Apprentice in 2011 and gained experience in Plant Maintenance and Project Installations on several industrial sites, including a dairy, a breakfast cereal manufacturer and leading paint producer. Since completing her apprenticeship she has gained additional experience on several other clients sites and is now an Engineering Team Leader on one of our Asset Care contracts in East London.
Lucy’s Typical Day
After coming in through the prestigious gates of a major manufacturing site in London, I walk through the Plant, passing whirring machines, installed in historic buildings that live to tell the tale of time. Before I can start work, I change into clean overalls (they must be changed every day to prevent product contamination), along with my Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) of a hair net and safety glasses. As team leader for the Packing Department it is crucial that the final product is not contaminated in anyway. I also have to ensure my team follows the same lead.
The first job of the day is to log onto my computer and read the handover, which has been left by the shift supervisor of the night’s previous shift. My team have a Weekly Plan of Preventive Maintenance Work Orders (PM’s), generated from the Computerised Maintenance Management System (CMMS), to complete. But I must also investigate any Breakdowns that have happened overnight, that have resulted in Production Downtime. With this information I brief my team of 5 multi-skilled engineers and get them started for the day by allocating workloads and priorities.
A normal day, will involve us working on equipment, which includes; silos, metal detectors, scrolls, conveyor belts, prasmatics, palletisers and stretch wrappers. We carry out Preventive Maintenance tasks that are scheduled on a routine basis. From these we raise Corrective Maintenance notifications and rectify what we can with parts from the stores or plan any bigger jobs in for a later date or overhaul. We then stay and work with the machine operators to watch the line back into production and we ensure a smooth start-up back into production.
Throughout the day, my team and I are constantly looking out for any safety non-conformances on the equipment or site itself. As my work area is a dusty environment, DSEAR issues are a very high priority. I also carry out weekly Health and Safety audits on our guys throughout the site, as well as reporting anything untoward using the client’s near miss system.
Before going home, I meet back with my team to see if there was anything extra or unusual they found during the day, then I fill in the daily handover, to provide a brief for the oncoming shift of the work that we have completed during the day. This is also communicated to the Shift Supervisor and Engineering Manager.
What I really enjoy about my role as an Engineering Team Leader is the variety of the work that I carry out; every day and every job is different. In an ideal world every time you go to do a job, everything about it would be the same, but in this industry and particularly with the age of the site and components we work with, they very rarely are the same. This definitely adds to the excitement of really thinking about all the different ways of doing things. I also enjoy finishing a job! I can then go home and say to my family that I have done x, y and z and really pushed hard to get this job done on time and feel proud of what me and my team have achieved under my direction.
My advice to any women thinking of a career in engineering is go for it! If you are practically minded and enjoy a challenge, I wouldn’t suggest doing anything else! I have gained skills and friends that will take me onward and upward throughout my engineering career – I can 100% say I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!
More information is available about NWED here