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Lottie's adventures with Ancon

I had a fantastic week with Ancon (4th – 8th November) as part of 'Tomorrow’s Engineers Week' from the Women’s Engineering Society. This initiative is dedicated to raising awareness of women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) roles and how interesting they can be to girls at a young age, like me. My week was so varied, looking at a wide range of roles linked with the design and production of products used in the construction of buildings. I got the chance to learn from women in Ancon’s Product Development, Technical Support, Project Design and Production teams.

My week started with a full Health and Safety induction and an introduction to the CRH 16 Life Saving Rules to help keep me safe whilst working at Ancon. I was glad that they take the Health and Wellbeing of everyone on site so seriously; it is reassuring to feel safe whilst working in all the different areas of a busy factory.

I then went on to sit with the Ancon Marketing Team to get a deeper understanding of Ancon and the role of each department in the business. Kirsty in the marketing team explained that Ancon has a big focus on product and service innovation and that I would have the opportunity to sit with Konstantina, one of the Engineers in the Product Development team. This was definitely the part of the week I was most excited about!

Kirsty then introduced me to Caroline, a Draughtsperson in one of the Project Design Teams. Caroline was detailing the design of a brick support system on a live construction project in London for one of Ancon’s customers. Here I am watching as Caroline amended the CAD drawing ready for the production team to make the products.

Next stop, the Technical Team! I had lots of opportunity to speak with Noor, Nicola and Sara in the technical team who were all working hard on handling customer enquiries. The in-house technical team here at Ancon help with all aspects of technical support from pre-purchase product selection to installation queries on site. Noor and Nicola talked me through how they look at building plans and assess which Ancon products are required. They even showed me some of the technical literature which they helped write.

My final stop in Technical was to sit with Sara who was in the process of recording a webinar. These webinars are available on demand, and this one helps engineers and architects select the right Ancon products for a new housing development. After Sara had finished, she even gave me the chance to have a go at presenting one myself!

After seeing so much of what goes on pre-production, I was excited to be able to visit the production and manufacturing side of Ancon, down on the shop floor. Mick in the Production Team took me on my tour, where I got to meet yet more women working in roles you may think are for men!

First, I remembered my training from the first day and Mick ensured I put on my high-visibility vest, safety glasses and ear plugs before I went through to the shop floor. Mick took me to see Lisa who was bending the brackets for Ancon’s Masonry Support Systems like the ones I had seen Caroline design earlier.

After watching Lisa, I was amazed by the production process and how efficiently everyone works. It was an exciting fast-moving environment and I enjoyed being part of a team. My next stop was to see Natalia who was busy producing Ancon’s products for concrete.

Friday was, sadly, my last day with Ancon but I got to spend it talking with structural engineers Harriet and Konstantina in the Product Development Team.

Not only did I get to look at the product testing and samples of new products in development, Konstantina showed me software calculations on a design program she had helped develop for Ancon’s customers. Look how clever the software looks!

The calculations behind the software were so long and included letters! I think I will enjoy doing these myself one day.

I really enjoyed my week at Ancon and I am now very excited to learn more about Engineering roles. It was so good to see so many women in each of the roles as I visited each team!

Thank you Ancon! I am now more determined to work in Engineering when I grow up.

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