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Transform the Future - INWED 2019 #5

Here's Hitachi Infocon's Engineers, Nora and Penny, about women in engineering:

Nora:

Q: What would you say to someone who thinks engineering is a career better suited to men, not women?

I actually agree with this, unless you have a very strong personality and like challenges very much. I have seen very resistant teams, that did not want to have female engineers at all. On the other hand I have never worked at places like ‘Boots’ it could be that those teams are more balanced. (I had an interview a few months ago for the researcher’s position at Boots, it seemed like it was a very flexible role and that people were very keen on engaging and delivering the results to the customers, however, the role got transformed and so they decided that my background did not include reliability assurance and testing skills, so I had to drop out).

Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of female engineers during your career? If so/if not, why do you think this is?

I have seen a lot of female engineers joining Rolls-Royce, because I used to help graduates to settle, I would ask what were the reasons for choosing engineering, majority said it was only to do with higher incomes if compared to other subjects that their friends had chosen.

Q: What advice would you give young girls considering a career in engineering?

I think it is a very individual matter. People can choose a lighter version of engineering as well as a heavier course at the university ( mechanical engineering). If the main reason for choosing the engineering course is money, then it might not work as we spend so much time at work – we should choose something we are very interested in, not what pays well only.

Q: Given the number of female engineers in our industry is relatively low, how best do you think these numbers can be increased?

I was involved in the Bloodhound project in Bristol, I think it is a good way of introducing engineering at schools. Would children choose engineering as a subject to study later in life– I do not know, I think there is no such evidence gathered yet, because these projects are quite new (especially nationwide).

Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge female engineers face in the workplace?

I think, a challenge to fit in? I started dealing with engineering as a patent law technical assistant, I dealt with a mix of people and I think I did not understand what real engineering really is.  After I graduated from the university I started dealing with System Engineering tasks mainly, I quite enjoy it, however I really miss my previous environment where the team would be built up out of various background people and the daily tasks would involve patens, engineering and general technical assistance.

Q: What three things make you most proud to be a female engineer in HICSE?

I think that the most rewarding bit is quite general -  the ability to see a positive change that you make while improving the processes or the product (money saving, resource saving, shortened timescales, improved efficiency.. etc). Another very important thing is to be able to improve processes using the methodology that you have picked up at the university (or at previous workplaces), but that you have used in many other roles, because it confirms that the tools and the methods you have employed actually are transferable and work.

Q: What positive traits do you think female engineers bring to a workplace?

I think it is good to have a more balanced environment, however, men need to want it as well. I have seen very resistant teams, not accepting the idea of women in engineering. Rolls-Royce has a mix of both, but generally the level of professionalism is very high. (I was warned by my tutor at the university when I started my Master’s course, that I ticked all the boxes to be unwanted  in engineering – a mixed background, a woman and a foreigner, in the beginning I doubled  it, but later I did experience some comments that made me think he was right, that is why I think it is for very strong women who like challenges).

Q: Do you have a personal ‘hero’ from the world of female engineering? If so, who and why?

I think I have not been long enough it engineering to know more about it. My main hero was my manager in Rolls-Royce – John, who knew answers to all possible questions he was asked, - it was very impressive (or maybe it only looked to me like that because I lacked engineering knowledge myself?)

Penny:

Q: What would you say to someone who thinks engineering is a career better suited to men, not women?

A: I don’t think it’s to do with gender but personality.  If you have any enquiring mind and wonder how something happens and could it be done better, more efficiently, more safely then engineering is for you.

Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of female engineers during your career? If so/if not, why do you think this is?

A: Lack of information as to the range of careers engineering covers. I’m not sure that people realise how diverse it is and the opportunities that are available.

Q: What advice would you give young girls considering a career in engineering?

A: Try it.  There are so many aspects to engineering and it’s a career that can take you all round the world and become involved in many different types of industries.

Q: Given the number of female engineers in our industry is relatively low, how best do you think these numbers can be increased?

A: I think initiatives like Women in Rail and Young Rail Professionals helps but this is for people who are already in the industry. More needs to be done in schools when career choices are made so people realise how diverse and interesting engineering is.  

Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge female engineers face in the workplace?

A: I’ve found the industry very inclusive and have not experienced any specific challenges that are specific to females.

Q: What three things make you most proud to be a female engineer in HICSE?

A: The quality of the work and the fact that everything is done properly and is well project planned and documented.

Q: What positive traits do you think female engineers bring to a workplace?

A: The same as anybody else, being a good team member with an excellent attitude to work and desire to produce the best product possible (and the willingness to take turns bringing in treats for the team. As the saying goes, an army marches on its stomach and the same is true for engineers)

Q: Do you have a personal ‘hero’ from the world of female engineering? If so, who and why?

A: Not a female engineer but my father is a Mechanical Engineer so I grew up doing things and taking them apart to see how they work.

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Transform the Future - INWED 2019 #4

Here's another inspiring story of our International Women in Engineering Day week, this time by Helen, one of Hitachi Infocon's Engineers:

How I managed to have it all – just not all at the same time!

Most of the people I work with have very similar back stories. They left school, went to university, graduated and started full time work. As graduates the one thing they had in common was that the jobs they went into were a stepping stone to better things. They had Prospects!

At the same age I had left school with no plan, direction or ambition and had three children in four years. This kept me busy for a while. Had my partner been a millionaire I would probably had a few more children and continued to aimlessly potter on. That wasn’t the case so given that children grow out of their clothes and shoes and require food and shelter on a regular basis it became apparent that paid work would have to come into the equation somewhere along the line. So paid work I did! Over the years I pulled pints, flipped burgers, stacked shelves, cleaned things, delivered free papers and sold coffee over the phone. The one thing all these jobs had in common was that they could be fitted in round the children and they paid, albeit badly given that this was before the minimum wage came along.

Fast Forward: I’m broke, shattered and bored. Also older and wiser. There’s no shame in being poor but it’s no picnic either. I decided I wanted to change things so did some research. It seemed that anything to do with computers was the way to go. As I had never even touched a computer at that point I decided to go to an open evening at the local college to find out about evening classes with the vague idea that if I could find out how to use a word processor it might be a Good Thing. Judging by the hourly rates quoted in the Sits Vac columns of the time it would certainly be a way of earning a lot more money.

I went along to the open evening and met the person who would be my tutor for the next two years while I completed a full time HND in Business and Information Technology. Quite how I went from finding out about learning a skill that would pay at evening classes to signing up to become a full time mature student for two years is probably a whole book in itself but without the guidance and support I received that evening it would never have happened. I couldn’t see it happening when I signed up for the course but two years later I walked out of college with an HND and the confidence to sign up for a further year of study – a conversion course leading to a BSc in European Software Engineering.

The new course involved a term a term each at an English, Irish and French university. After I had spent the first 12 weeks driving up to Huddersfield on a Sunday night and back home on a Friday I was ready to quit! The family, children included, spent the fortnight’s Christmas holiday giving me ‘pep talks’. Mainly of the JFDI variety!

Early the next January the children and I loaded as many of our possessions as would fit into my battered Skoda and boarded a ferry to Ireland to spend three months in Cork – me at college and the children at school. It did us all the world of good and we got on the ferry to come back to England in a distinctly tearful mood.

The scene above repeated itself for the final term of the course, this time France. A condition of starting the course modules in any location was passing all those at the end of the previous term I had scraped through (just) at Huddersfield but did much better in Cork. The third term in France was the decider but when I put the last full stop on the last exam paper I couldn’t have cared less about the end result – I had stayed the course! (I passed.)

A big reality check followed on returning to England. I had a brand new shiny degree but now had to decide what to do with it. The HND and degree course timetables gave me the same long holidays as the children. I couldn’t possible hold down a full time job during the school holidays could I?? Think again. Plenty of other people were doing just that – how did they do it? I did some more research, worked it out and went to an agency. They found me a full time job as a Technical Assistant for six months. Four months in I was offered a permanent position which I declined. My long-suffering (they must have been – I was there for 13 years in the end) employers asked why. I explained that I had left one thing off my CV when applying to the agency – my degree. My reasoning at the time was that if the childcare thing didn’t work out I wouldn’t have a blot on my record – or rather my hard-won shiny degree. I figures I would get round to using it eventually but it might have to wait.

Much to my surprise instead of dismissing me as one of the terminally faint hearted my employers offered to sign me up for their graduate trainee programme. I said ‘Yes please!’ I had a riot! I was never bored at work, I learned a lot, I got promoted a lot, I travelled and I met many interesting people.

Fast Forward 13 years: All good things come to an end. The company I was working for was taken over by a much larger company and when voluntary redundancy was put on the table I was one of the takers. Walking out of the place for the last time without a job to go to was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. However, the week before I left I had attended an interview at a very small company – headcount 40 – and the only ray of hope was a second interview the following Monday. I got the job!

Fast Forward 7 years: Today I am Head of Company Assurance for Hitachi Information Control Systems (Europe) Ltd (HICSE), the new name of the small company I went to work for, following its acquisition by Hitachi. My youngest child is 30 and I have a 14 year old granddaughter. I have learnt a lot over the course of the years, the most important things being;-

  1. It is NEVER too late to do anything. There are eighty year olds (and older) running marathons!
  2. You can have it all but probably not at the same time. The hard part for me was working out what ‘it’ was. ‘It’ is different for all of us. Step 2 is working out the ‘when’.
  3. Other people’s opinions are nice to have if good and awful if bad. Don’t ignore either but learn to be your own best critic. If I had listened to other people all those years ago when they said I was crazy to consider going back to college ‘at your age’ I probably would still be broke, bored and exhausted!

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Transform the Future - INWED 2019 #3

Here's another inspiring story, written by Carol, one of Hitachi Infocon's Test Engineers:

Why I became an engineer

I became a Software Developer because I found I had an aptitude for it, and came to love that type of work. I found it very creative and fulfilling - finding solutions to seemingly insurmountable technical problems; designing a system from scratch using structured techniques; building and testing new/changed systems; implementing the end products (in my case, across Europe). I became a specialist in gleaning Customer Requirements and transforming them into Technical Requirements and Specifications for development engineers.

Q: What would you say to someone who thinks engineering is a career better suited to men, not women?

This is such a difficult one. Personally, I think it's the word "Engineer" that is the problem as it has connotations of 'physical' work, the sort which is 'usually done by men'.

Particularly Software Engineering is more about the way a person's mind works, rather than what gender - many men are also not suited to it as they aren't able to 'think' computer programming.

Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of female engineers during your career? If so/if not, why do you think this is?

There has been a small increase in numbers of women, but we are still quite rare, and often 'the only one' in a team/department/company.

I think this is because, in the Western world, we are taught subjects/content that we have to learn (and there is a place for that) but they are prescriptive, rather than focussing on development of inherent skills and talents. Obviously, this is true of most subjects.

Engineering subjects don't seem to describe the sort of person who would enjoy and be good at the role; educators, recruitment agencies and businesses focus on qualifications.

Also, of the (few) women who take/pass an Engineering Degree, it seems less than half go on to get a job using what they've learned. Apparently UK has the lowest percentage of women Engineering Professionals in Europe.

Q: What advice would you give young girls considering a career in engineering?

Ask them what they enjoy doing and what they think their talents are. My overiding job satisfaction criteria include Problem Solving and Creative Thinking (my talents) for problem resolution - both skills required for code development, but also testing, etc.

In considering software/development it would be great to inform girls of the facts that:

  1. a) the first person to publish an algorithm (ie coded instructions) which could be executed by the first modern computer was Ada Lovelace (ie the first (recognised) computer programmer was a woman). Ada saw there was an excellent 'Problem Solving' opportunity using her 'Creative Thinking' when she was introduced to the computer (the Analytical Engine) created by Charles Babbage - she was then 17 years old.
  2. b) There are many different roles that women could go into, based on engineering specialisms, not just 'straight' engineering. EG some of us like validating what is produced meets what was asked for; again, another inherent talent to be nurtured. Others want to be original thinkers and actively create something.

Q: Given the number of female engineers in our industry is relatively low, how best do you think these numbers can be increased?

See above comments. Maybe more of us could visit schools and Universities. Actual jobs/work are probably (I have no idea) far removed from what any student is taught, or any syllabus addresses.

Women returners is a big untapped resource - women have 'career breaks' but the business culture in UK has been very slow to acknowledge and use the potential of bringing these women back to do jobs for which employers say they can't find enough experienced people.

So numbers of women Engineers in jobs probably remain the same as returning women often meet brick walls from both recruitment agencies and businesses themselves. They are told to retrain after any lengthy break, as previous work experience and qualifications are deemed out-of-date, and so go into something else completely. (Bit of personal experience here :-()

Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge female engineers face in the workplace?

Being taken seriously. Even today (this is SO disappointing) we are still something of a novelty.

Q: What positive traits do you think female engineers bring to a workplace?

Women are more open to collaboration with colleagues. Also, we are (generally) better with 'soft' skills (eg communication) and are less afraid of asking questions and admitting when we don't know something.

Q: Do you have a personal ‘hero’ from the world of female engineering? If so, who and why?

(Apart from women like Ada Lovelace). This might surprise you ... Steve Shirley - she set up F International, a company specifically created to help women who worked in Software Development, Software Systems Design and Specification, and Processes get jobs, and be 'seen'. She was frustrated by the constraints just being women imposed, in what was becoming a predominantly male work environment. (Men having been forced to enter offices, more traditionally populated by women, due to the decrease in manufacturing, physical jobs, etc). Don't quote me on that last sentence 🙂

Steve managed to bring awareness to businesses of very capable people (women) out there available to bring experience and professionalism to their companies.

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Transform the Future - INWED 2019 #2

It’s International Women in Engineering Day this weekend and here's another inspiring story from one of our amazing Engineers, Mel.

Hitachi believes that diversity is the wellspring of innovation and a powerful growth engine and we hope to inspire women and girls around the world to consider the career in engineering.

 

Why I became an engineer

In a scenario that I’m sure is familiar to many people regardless of their job, I fell into engineering – it certainly wasn’t the fulfillment of a much-cherished childhood dream!

I gravitated towards the field of software engineering, because it suits the way my brain works; I love scrutinising detail (I’ve been called a pedant more than once!), I’ve always questioned and challenged the way things are done, and I just can’t ignore something that doesn’t seem right. The type of tasks I relish are those which other people try to avoid – I was once put to work identifying why a software programme was intermittently losing £0.01 in every £10,000!

I genuinely love the job I do, and whilst I appreciate it’s not a role that would suit everyone, it works for me, and I consider myself very lucky to be working as a software engineer.

Q: What would you say to someone who thinks engineering is a career better suited to men, not women?

 I don’t think gender is relevant to an individual’s career choice – if someone has the required skills and the right mind-set, then they’re the best person for the job.

Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of female engineers during your career? If so/if not, why do you think this is?

 As I’ve become more senior, I’ve seen the percentage of female engineers diminish. I think this may be due to woman leaving the industry to have children or taking on caring responsibilities and not returning. I think the failure to encourage women to return to work is a missed opportunity – there are vast numbers of skilled engineers whose talents are being allowed to go to waste. I think companies who can find a way to engage these ‘returning’ women, undoubtedly reap significant benefits.

Q: What advice would you give young girls considering a career in engineering?

 Go for it! Careers in engineering are rewarding, and potentially well-paid. Don’t make the mistake of assuming all engineering roles involve manual labour, High Viz clothing and/or getting dirty, because that’s simply not true.

Q: Given the number of female engineers in our industry is relatively low, how best do you think these numbers can be increased?

 Encouraging women to return to engineering roles after taking time off to raise children or the cessation of caring responsibilities would be a great place to start.

 Q: What do you think is the greatest challenge female engineers face in the workplace?

 I’ve never encountered any specific gender-related challenges. Perhaps I’ve been lucky (or very thick-skinned!), but I’ve always felt I was judged on my ability to do the job, not on my chromosomal make-up!

Q: What three things make you most proud to be a female engineer in HICSE?

 I’m proud that HICSE are increasing the number of female engineers in the business – it proves that we’re a company who are attempting to address the gender imbalance. HICSE’s sponsorship of WES (Women’s Engineering Society) also demonstrates the company’s commitment to supporting female engineers in our industry.

Q: Do you have a personal ‘hero’ from the world of female engineering? If so, who and why?

 Grace Hopper. I attended the Grace Hopper Conference several years ago, and was thoroughly impressed by her contribution to the world of computer programing.   

 

And here's a picture of all our ladies in Bradford on Avon and Derby office:

 

 

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Transform the Future - INWED 2019

It’s International Women in Engineering Day this weekend and as Hitachi believes that diversity is the wellspring of innovation and a powerful growth engine, we’d like to help inspire future women engineers around the world. We are happy to celebrate the achievements of women engineers and we’re hoping to contribute to encouraging girls to consider a career in the sector.

Read an inspiring story of Jené, one of our Software Engineers, about her finding her way to the career of engineering:

‘It started when I was in school and took some career aptitude test which were always the same outcome, all my suggested career paths had to do with engineering. I always felt, however, that you had to be smart and good at maths to be able to do any engineering jobs, areas I thought I lacked in. It was only later in my life that I realised that it wasn’t only about being smart it’s more about a way of thinking, a way of solving problems and the logical thought process that just comes naturally, and this is something I have a trait I feel I inherited from my dad.

My dad always preached logical thinking and would encouraged me to come up with ways to tackle a project before he would help me complete it, something that I feel grew my own abilities in engineering.

I’ve always been fascinated with knowing how things work and computers were no exception, I used to pull apart old computers to study the hardware components but I wanted to know how a computer worked in the background, how it processed information. It was only after I studied desk top publishing back in 2006 that I got introduced to programming and then I wanted to know more, this is when I started my long journey to becoming a software engineer.'

Q: What would you say to someone who thinks engineering is a career better suited to men, not women?

A: Women are discouraged from being and thinking in certain ways throughout their lives so its challenge for us to convince ourselves and others that we can do it, so if a woman is in a engineering career this shows that she has just as much if not more courage, confidence and drive as a man to be a great engineer.

Q: Have you seen an increase in the number of female engineers during your career? If so/if not, why do you think this is?

A: I’ve only just started my career but there were a few more women than I expected in computing/engineering when I was at University.

Q: What advice would you give young girls considering a career in engineering?

A: Do some research, short course or online materials to get a feel for what to expect and see what direction you want to go in, sometimes the reality of things can be different to what you imagine or expect.

Engineering is made up of a wide range of disciplines and following a career in one discipline may actually reveal other areas that are better suited to your interests.

I found being confident in my abilities and whether or not I was good enough was the hardest part to get past, I found taking courses in programming languages helped boost my confidence and prove to myself that I can do it, while also cementing my interest in software engineering, so don’t be afraid to try things out.

Q: What three things make you most proud to be a female engineer in Hitachi?

A:  Working in a great team. Learning about a fascinating industry. Being part of a global brand.

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'Better the balance, better the world'

‘Better the balance, better the world’ is this year’s theme for International Woman’s Day (IWD) which is celebrated on the 8th March. The statement “Balance is not a women's issue, it's a business issue” written on the IWD website resonates strongly with Hitachi’s ethos that diversity is the wellspring of innovation and a powerful growth engine. Hitachi regards personal differences — gender, nationality, work history, age, sexual orientation, and philosophy — as facets of people's individuality. By respecting employees' individualities and positioning them as an advantage, Hitachi frames its diversity and inclusion as conducive to both the individual's and the company's sustainable growth. International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender balance.

Gender Balance at HICSE

In the UK rail industry, despite amazing growth, women are still underrepresented especially in technical or senior roles. In an attempt to redress the balance the Department for Transport actually set a target, specifying that women working in transport should match the number of men by the end of the decade. For its part, HICSE is supporting this initiative by offering flexible working opportunities to both men and women and creating a culture that encourages a positive work-life balance. As the organisation grows it’s encouraging to see the increasing levels of diversity within our teams across all departments but we must do more to encourage more women to join the business.

Almost a year ago HICSE became a Company Partner of the Women in Engineering Society (WES) and this has provided opportunities for staff to attend a number of events, workshops and even an award ceremony! We’ve also been involved in projects which have raised our profile, ensuring that an ever increasing number of people know who HICSE are, and what we do. Below are a few examples:

Women in Engineering - A Discussion

In October, Mel Sutcliffe travelled to Swansea to participate in the filming of a ‘Women in Engineering’ video, organised by the College of Engineering at Swansea University. Mel was one of three women present who currently work in an engineering role, and they were joined by a number of students, all of whom are studying for a variety of engineering qualifications. The resulting video is available to view here:  https://www.hitachi-infocon.com/women-in-engineering-a-discussion/

Lottie’s Tour

Lottie’s Tour is an annual project which is organised by the WES Young Members Board. It aims to show young girls and boys that there are a huge range of careers available in engineering - an engineer isn’t just the person who fixes your car or works on the railway wearing orange! Over 150 companies participated in the 2018 tour, and HICSE joined the likes of the National Grid, Aston Martin and Balfour Beatty in welcoming Lottie to our offices. Below are a selection of photos showing Lottie during her visit to HICSE in Bradford on Avon (huge thanks to Nick Krainc for his fantastic photography skills):

WES’ INWED18 Afternoon Tea event.

In June, Mel Sutcliffe attended the 2018 International Women in Engineering Day’s Afternoon Tea event which was organised by WES, and hosted at the Royal Academy of Engineering’s headquarters in Carlton House Terrace, near Buckingham Palace.

The afternoon started with champagne on arrival, followed by tea and tiny cakes throughout the afternoon. The keynote speech was presented by the Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Dr Hayaatun Sillem, and the event ended with an award ceremony, recognising the achievements of individuals under the banner of ‘Returners and Transferrers’: http://www.inwed.org.uk/top-50-women-in-engineering.html

It was a fantastic opportunity to meet other engineers (both male and female), and to increase the profile of HICSE within the engineering community.

#BalanceForBetter

 

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HICSE MD's talk to IET members at Bath University

Last night HICSE’s Managing Director TIM Gray gave a talk to IET members at Bath University. The subject was Digital Railway and how the UK rail industry is using digital systems to improve capacity and performance plus bring new benefits and opportunities to railway stakeholders. A supply side view on the transformation plans and progress to date. The event was well attended and the subject prompted some lively debate amongst IET members.


 

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Women in Engineering - A Discussion

Our Senior Test Engineer, Mel Sutcliffe, has recently participated in an inspiring discussion about women in engineering organised by College of Engineering at Swansea University. It brings us a step closer to understanding the biggest problems women engineers face and what we can all do to support them and help increase diversity in workplace.

The video is available at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ll13kBn_G8Q&feature=youtu.be

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6488353427985297408/

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The WES Young Members Board (WES = Women’s Engineering Society) have organised their third Lottie Tour for this year’s ‘Tomorrow's Engineers Week’ (5th-9th Nov) to show how varied and exciting it is to work in engineering - the target audience for this event is girls of primary school age and upwards.

We were lucky enough to receive a visit from Lottie in early Oct, and below is a photo we took of her in action. You can find more pictures of her visit in our office on our social media: @hitachi-infocon – we’ll be posting them all week! And here is the blog she wrote after her visit:

 

 

Hello Everyone!

This week I’ve been in Bradford on Avon, spending time with the engineers of HICSE. I hadn’t heard of HICSE before, but Mel and Dee explained that they’re part of the Hitachi family, and their full company name is ‘Hitachi Information Control Systems Europe Ltd’.

They also explained that HICSE is a company which help to keep our trains running, and without their software and knowhow, people wouldn’t be able to get to work, visit their friends, or have days out in exciting new places.

I’d bought both my hard hat and Hi Viz jacket with me (safety first at all times in the rail industry!), but these engineers were office and laboratory based, so protective clothes weren’t needed. Despite this, I took the opportunity to get a few photos of me wearing my kit – I hope you like them!

Next I was shown around the company’s onsite lab – wow! It was full of big, noisy machines with lots of flashing lights, computer screens beeping everywhere, and loads and loads of cables and plugs. I made sure I got lots of photos of me with the equipment – and no, I wasn’t allowed to touch anything without supervision!!

Before leaving I made a new friend called Howard. He let me sit on his shoulder whilst he worked – have a look at the photo! I was sad when I had to leave HICSE, but I’m looking forward to my next adventure, and to making more new friends.

Bye and thanks HICSE – especially Mel, Dee and Howard!!

Lottie xx

 

 

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On the 10th & 11th October we joined (and some of us co-organised!) the Women of Hitachi Summit. The summit was held at Woodlands Park Hotel in Cobham, Surrey, a fabulous former Country House with a lot of period features, which was brilliant for our history nerds.

The event was not only a brilliant opportunity to meet up with colleagues from a raft of different Hitachi organisations & countries and see how diverse our workplace experiences were. It was also really good to see our directors in attendance and whilst we do currently have a male bias within our Organisation, like much of the industry, it demonstrated that they are supportive of making us a more inclusive and diverse workforce, building on recent positive progress in this area.

Georgie Bullen, GB Goalball Paralympian, was the guest speaker on Wednesday and provided a fascinating, informative presentation on the challenges of being registered blind, with 73% being unemployed.

On Thursday we had a packed day of presentations and workshops. Laura Dunley from HRE, was the key note speaker and was extremely engaging when providing her background with some very interesting examples of having assumptions being made as to her role within meetings (being handed coats to hang up etc.). The workshops Courageous Conversations and Pouring coffees or Making an Impression gave us a lot to think about, it has provided us with interesting tools going forward.