Emily Burridge

Inspirational Woman: Emily Burridge | Concrete Technical Production Manager, Hanson


Emily BurridgeEmily Burridge, 22, is a Concrete Technical Production Manager who covers 25 concrete plants in the West Midlands.

Emily is one of only four females to go through the Hanson LEAD programme, which she joined three years ago.

She gained a foundation degree in Minerals Management from the University of Derby and is now focusing on gaining an honours degree, whilst working in her management role at Hanson.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My name is Emily Burridge; I am 22 years old and have been working for Hanson UK for just over three years. I started as a LEAD trainee supervisor on a three-year Higher Apprenticeship in partnership with the University of Derby. I achieved a level 4 SHE qualification and completed a foundation degree in Mineral Extractives Technology. I am now a technical production manager covering 25 concrete plants in the West Midlands, focusing on the quality control of all concrete produced out of the plants and delivered to customers. I also manage four employees who regularly visit construction sites to sample and test the materials produced.

I come from Somerset but moved to South Wales and then the West Midlands for my job. My family are very hands-on in their careers, my father has had roles as a farm labourer and a mechanic, so I was never afraid to get stuck in. Being able to work outside has always appealed to me and mixing office work and site visits is a huge benefit to my role. However, the characters you meet in this industry are the most memorable and fun parts of my job, and stories about massive or unusual building projects are commonplace. Discussing drones, using explosives, or how things have changed over 30 years is incredible; what you can learn talking to others who have been in business for years is astounding.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I was never one for planning the future as I always had the mind-set that everything could change at the last-minute, but the one thing I saw myself going into after college was graphic design having achieved an A* in my A-levels. That never happened. In my last year at college all my friends were visiting universities and applying to UCAS and panicking about the debt they would get into and it changed my perspective. Having already been working for a few years in a pub, I was already adjusting to the world of work and the appeal of getting an education as well as a wage was an eye-opener, so I started looking for apprenticeships on the government website when I spotted the Hanson LEAD programme.

I had no back-up plan and attended the interview and assessment centre where applicants were given a series of challenges to assess team-building, assertiveness, and communication. Luckily I had a phone call the week after and was offered the role.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

You face challenges in every job, but in the construction industry, ours tend to be on a much larger scale and as a matter of urgency. Typically, you have two hours to place concrete once it is mixed, so there is little time to correct any issues. Imagine you are supplying material to a motorway but the route to the site is blocked. You have to work around that and find a solution or at least ensure the customer is kept informed. The biggest challenge for me has been adjusting my leadership style to ensure I am the best manager I can be for staff who are more experienced than me.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

While I have no official title as a mentor, I like to think that I make myself approachable and I have good supportive relationships with everyone I communicate with. I see mentoring as crucial as it’s never fun to be thrown in the deep end. Some people can get really weighted down without the right support. In terms of career progression, mentoring people not only gives them higher self-worth but can also prepare them for new roles and changes within the company.

What do you want to see happen within the next five years when it comes to diversity?

Diversity is already increasing within the industry; I would love to see this continue. By no means is the industry discriminatory, but it doesn’t appeal to certain groups of people due to the stereotype of being out on a cliff-face looking at rock. We have space for all types of people within our company and offer positions not just in the building products operational sites but also in the technical areas, HR, Finance, and IT.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

Facilities at our operational sites are catching up fast with our larger offices which have excellent amenities and I would like to see that accelerate.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement aside from becoming a manager of 25 concrete plants at the age of 21, was a project I headed to create a new concrete mix to be used in ‘Tremie’ applications. It took me a little over a year to research, trial and produce our proprietary product Tremiecrete which is now on the market. I had to send the final report to our parent company, Heidelberg Cement, for approval. It was an intense time, but the reward of seeing a product from an initial idea, to market across the whole of the UK is incredible. I can walk past buildings in the middle of cities and say: my concrete helped that to be possible.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My next challenge is in finding a way to challenge the technology of concrete further and create types of mixes that solves existing problems in the construction industry. In my role, product development and an emphasis on material quality is vital. In the future, I hope to help revolutionise the industry through the use of new technologies and initiatives.

Hanson use Early Talent specialists Cohesion to manage their LEAD recruitment process on their behalf. For more information please visit: https://www.hanson-careers.co.uk/en/apprenticeships


Inspirational Woman: Camila Namor, Product Engineer, Hubble

Camilla NamorA self taught Javascript developer, I’m very interested in all things related to the Internet as a community, education and learning.

When I’m not programming you can usually find me learning languages, reading and traveling. I'm a Product Engineer at Hubble working on the international platform.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

My name is Camila and I’m a Javascript developer from Buenos Aires. I have a little over four years of experience working as a programmer, as well as some writing and teaching experience too. I recently moved to London and started working as a Product Engineer for Hubble.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I can’t say I started thinking formally about my career until recently. When I started getting into programming it was just for fun and I didn’t really know anyone on the field or working in IT at the moment so I wasn’t even aware of the possibilities. For the most part after that I was open to new ideas and opportunities that would come my way and luckily for me I think it worked out pretty well and it got me some interesting experience. Recently I’ve been thinking about what I want to do more purposefully and started generating change to get there. It’s been working great, mostly because it never felt forced.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes. Impostor syndrome is a pretty big thing for me, and it’s the same for every woman I meet in the industry. It’s harder when your professional environment lacks diversity and you really feel like the odd one out. I’ve been working a lot on it and trying not to let it spoil my energy but the majority of days it’s a conscious effort. It helps a lot right now that Hubble has such an amazing culture, and I’m really having a good time coming to work.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

I think it was being self-taught even without knowing anything about the industry at first. And more recently, making the leap and moving alone from the other side of the world. I’m very proud about that as well and happy with the decision.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Always being open to the different opportunities that present themselves along the way and trusting my gut.

How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?

I love mentoring. I’ve worked as a teacher for some time and got to help a lot of people when they were just starting out. It’s a very rewarding experience for me and I recommend it. And I think it works both ways, both the mentor and mentee always get something out of it. One of the greatest things about working in tech is being able to form part of such an active community, there’s always an event you can go to to meet people and learn from each other.

If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Parity, what would it be?

I think it’s important for companies to take an active role in trying to get more equality in the work place, and it’s not just about hiring more women. I think it’s amazing how far we’ve come by now but there’s still so much to do, especially regarding mothers in the workplace. We also need to hear more about different personal experiences, because these are endless and it’s always a bit easier when you can see yourself in someone that’s already where you want to be in the future. Sharing experiences inspires us and makes us feel less lonely.

If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?

To not doubt myself and my own capabilities, and to be more assertive about what I want. To be able to walk away if I don’t think I’m in the right place. But overall to always try to have fun with what I do.  At the end of the day, it’s important to be comfortable and work in meaningful projects.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

My move was very recent so I’m very focused on building my new life here. I also want to be useful within my team and company, learning more about back end development (as I’ve always worked in the front end) and developing new ideas to improve our product are my main goals right now.

Inspirational Woman: Louisa Spicer | Software Engineer, Echo


Louisa Spicer is a Software Engineer at Echo.

Echo was founded just over three years ago and already has 100,000 patient downloads so far and a Net Promotor Score of 83. Echo is on the NHS Digital app store, one of the approved digital tools available to patients, and is an NHS GP Systems of Choice, which ensures GPs and practice staff have access to the best technology to support patient care. Echo were also recently awarded the Best British Mobile Startup 2018 at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and won the 1st Mayor of London MedTech Business Awards last month.

Echo is a prescription management app which empowers patients in the UK to take control of their health and has the potential to significantly ease the strain on health services. In the UK, 40 per cent of patients do not take medication as directed, costing the NHS billions each year and leading to approximately 20 million unnecessary GP appointments. Echo is on a mission to transform the future of healthcare, and is the first app to improve lines of communication between GP, pharmacist and patient.

On the app, patients are able to order repeat prescriptions when stocks are running low- and will also receive reminders for when to take medication and when to order more. Echo also seeks to improve communication lines between GPs and their patients, making sure that information is clear and informative without being either patronising or too clinical and therefore hard to understand.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’ve grown up loving anything and everything to do with the Creative Arts. Finding it difficult to choose what career path to take, I just went with what I was most intrigued about at the time - the theory behind the cinematic arts. I graduated with a degree in Film Studies and went on to become a Digital Producer at a media agency. This involved helping to oversee Film and TV asset deliveries to various digital platforms like iTunes and Netflix.

I soon started to miss being able to express myself through some form of creativity though, so I started looking for other career paths that would satisfy this. That’s when I discovered the world of coding and haven’t looked back! Just over a year and a half ago I wrote my first line of code and attended an intensive 3-month coding bootcamp, Makers Academy, where I learned the very basics of Software Craftsmanship required to land a job as a Junior Developer.

I am now a Junior Software Developer at Echo; part of a team building many exciting developments of an internal software application. There’s always something new to learn and that’s what I love the most!

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I found it hard to pin down exactly what I wanted to do, but the various careers I thought of always revolved around creativity. Unfortunately I didn’t realise a career in Software Development was even a possibility for me until a couple of years ago.

Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?

A major challenge of mine was having the wrong mindset. It’s a typical story but it was/is hard to get over that “imposter syndrome” feeling and thinking that I’m not the right kind of person to be “good” at coding, due to many factors including not having the typical Mathematical or Technical background that a Computer Scientist graduate would have. This cloud was at its peak when applying for my first job as a Developer, carrying over well into that job too.

What really helped me to overcome these thoughts was being told about the Growth Mindset. In the most basic terms, this is just about realising there’s no limit to what you can achieve if you’re persistent and open to putting the effort in.

If you could change one thing for women in the workplace, what would it be?

To always be treated with fairness and equality. What more can you ask for?

How would you encourage more women and girls into a career in STEM?

Show young girls (and boys) how creative and fun a career in STEM can really be. As much as I appreciate that I was free to choose whatever subjects I wanted to do at secondary school, I’m sure I would have been willing to learn more about STEM fields at an earlier age if I had more guidance from teachers on the exciting range of things you can do and build.

There’s an amazing amount of free or cheap online courses to learn and play with code - this means that it’s now easier to develop skills in your free time, at whatever age.

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Believing in myself enough to commit to learning to code and not stopping when it gets tough.

What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?

To gain more confidence and keep growing my coding skills to the next level so that I can pass on some knowledge in the future. It would be amazing to build up enough confidence to get out there and be more active in the movement to help inspire and guide more girls and women into STEM.