Celebrating women at Autac for Women in Engineering Day

Introducing Sarah Eardley – Finance Manager

Sarah’s love for horses and the outdoors meant that when she was growing up, before finishing her A-Levels and leaving sixth form, she had no real idea of the kind of career she wanted to pursue. And because she had decided that she didn’t want to go to university, it seemed like lots of doors and options were closed to her.

Fast forward 13 years to today and Sarah who joined Autac in 2018 is now Finance Manager, she plays an integral part of our management team and absolutely loves working in the family business.

One of the best things about her role and working in the manufacturing industry, is that there are just so many different areas to the business that need to be managed and developed. In fact, the fast-paced culture is one of the things she loves about working at Autac as well as the brilliant team spirit, where everyone is always helping each other out and supporting one another. “One day is never the same as another at Autac, there’s never any time for clock watching here!”

It’s not just about the production process itself, there are all the other aspects of the business too, such as the ISO quality standards, health and safety, purchasing, supply chain, people management and of course accounts which all have an impact on the success of the business in some way.

“It’s really satisfying to play a part in producing an actual physical product such as our Autac electrical cable and coil, that once finished is then distributed all around the world and is used in so many different industries and situations. From commercial vehicles and trucks to a coastguard helicopter pilot’s helmet or a speed camera."

Sarah Eardley

Sarah loves diving into new challenges and getting hands-on, and in the down-to-earth world of manufacturing, there’s always an opportunity to learn and develop new skills. In fact, since joining Autac, her role and area of responsibility has grown a lot, as well as her industry knowledge, expertise and confidence, not to mention achieving her Level 3 AAT Accounting qualification through the company.

Now as a mum to Thomas, 18 months, having the flexibility to work a 4-day week and being able to blend, spending time with her little boy and at the same time being able to maintain her role and position in the business has been super important to Sarah, who recognises her need for both and is already looking ahead to what the next chapter will have in store.

If you’re considering a career in the manufacturing industry, Sarah highly recommends exploring more of the opportunities available to you before you leave school or college, including some of the more unconventional choices for women and not to be afraid to explore the apprenticeship route or other options. They are a great way to enter the world of work, be a part of a team, learn on the job and get paid too.

“If you have the right attitude to work and you want to learn and do well, then you’ll do really well and enjoy working in a growing business like Autac.”

Introducing Jane Swincoe – Autac Assemblies Supervisor

Jane has worked for us here at Autac for over 36 years and so as you can imagine there isn’t much about electrical cable manufacture and assembly that Jane doesn’t know. She has worked her way through the different workstations and activities within our manufacturing process and learned and mastered the different skills and techniques required.

Working at the heart of our production process, Jane is a wonderful example of how important our people are to the success of our business. People who really care about what they do, who recognise our customers’ needs and who want to make sure they do a good job.

“If I’m going to put my name to it then it needs to be right!”

Jane Swincoe

We know that Jane is not one of the loudest people in the room, but when she does have something to say, people listen. Her experience and expertise in how we do things is invaluable and as a self-professed perfectionist, Jane is brilliant at not only meeting our high standards of quality, but has developed the skill of carefully documenting how she does something, creating a standard process for each new product that can repeated easily and that others can follow.

Although Jane doesn’t always feel confident when she’s faced with a new challenge or gets a new product design that needs bringing to life, such as a small harness for a heart monitor, a cooling unit loom for a ship’s radiator or assembling our Autac EV charging cable, Jane does love the feeling that comes when she’s worked it all out, found the best way of doing it and the customer is happy.

When asked whether she would recommend working here at Autac in cable manufacturing to others, and particularly the next generation of women, she smiled and nodded.

“It must be alright if I’ve been able to do it for 36 years and we do have a great team here. If you’re somebody who can pay real attention to detail, who can pick things up quickly and really cares about what they do, then you would be perfect for this job.”

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