08 March 2024

Celebrating International Women’s Day at Tata Steel UK

Background graphic
This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the vast and diverse roles of our female team players. From regulatory matters, engineering to packaging education, our team are inspiring the next generation of skilled professionals. 

We spoke to a few of the team about how they started in their careers, what they love about working within steel packaging manufacturing, and what we can do to encourage greater diversity and inclusivity across the sector. 

Nicola Jones, Manager – Steel Packaging Recycling - ‘To inspire the next generation, we must showcase careers in steel manufacturing’ 

“I started my career as a business apprentice for then British Steel Tinplate, for two reasons: it offered experience across multiple departments, plus it was local! 
However, manufacturing has offered me opportunities and career growth that I never expected – now I look after the manufacturing, recycling, and packaging regulations for all our UK operations at Tata Steel,” comments Nicola.  

“Today’s generation of schoolchildren will have job titles which have not yet been conceived. To ensure the sustainability of the steel packaging industry and indeed, all manufacturing, we must showcase the opportunities available to inspire the next generation of skilled professionals.” 

Eleanor Shorland, Packaging Recycling Education Officer - ‘It’s wonderful to see the curiosity from school kids about steel” 

Tata Steel UK has had an active education programme spanning both careers and packaging recycling for over a decade, spearheaded by Nicola, and now managed by Eleanor Shorland, Packaging Recycling Education Officer.
The team delivers over fifty workshops every year and has reached around 100,000 young people highlighting the breadth of roles available in steel manufacturing and the importance of packaging recycling.  
“Through our schools programme, we’re able to reach girls and boys helping to provoke their curiosity about steel manufacturing,” comments Eleanor. “You’d be amazed by some of the questions we’re asked, ‘Are recycled steel products, made from tomato soup tins, red?" It shows that once introduced students of both genders are interested in manufacturing.” 

Gemma Finn Lewis, Product and Process Development Manager - “We’re innovating every day” 

“My role is extremely varied. I lead a small team of technical specialists looking at new product developments and process enhancements across our packaging steel production. It’s an exciting role because we’re looking at what new products we will be bringing to market,” says Gemma. 

“On the day-to-day basis, I can be checking that physical line trials are underway, undertaking research and development, following up on laboratory tests, or sitting down with a customer to hear about how we can help meet their packaging steel needs. 

“I joined Tata Steel in 2009 as a graduate from Cardiff University where I studied chemistry, after I met the team at a careers fair held at the uni. I’ve always been based within the quality control department but have had several different roles. 

“I love working in steel packaging manufacturing because it’s constantly evolving - the technology, customer demand, new regulations - they all mean that we’re continuously innovating.