Why schools should visit factories as well as farms


Emma Clement, Industrial Engineer at Tharsus Group talks to Julie Mordue, Client Relationship Manager at NRG about her career in manufacturing engineering, her inspirations and the driving forces behind her vocational choices.

Emma was a student at Durham School for Girls and always had a passion for anything to do with space; she revelled in maths and physics lessons.

At 13, Emma took part in the Space Competition hosted by the Centre for Life. It was her appetite for space and science which led her and her team to win the Secondary School Category at the North East Regional Finals.

There is a long tradition of engineering within Emma’s family. Her father is a Production Engineer and her Uncle is a Civil Engineer.

Emma explains, “My family was my biggest influence when choosing a career in engineering. The majority of my peers chose medicine, psychology and bio-medical research.  If I had not been brought up in a family of engineers then I would have a very different perception of careers within manufacturing.  Engineering is not perceived as a highly skilled career or a viable choice for a girl.”

When did you realise that you were destined for a career in manufacturing engineering?

 “One of my earliest memories of being interested in manufacturing was the children’s TV series ‘Come Outside’ where the two main characters Aunt Mabel and her dog Pippin go on adventures in an aeroplane to learn about the world around them and how things are made. In one episode the characters visited a toothpaste factory and explained how the stripes were put into the tubes.”

Since then Emma has been an avid enthusiast of all things STEM. She was selected by Newnham College, one of the three remaining all girls’ colleges at Cambridge University to study Manufacturing Engineering Tripos with the Institute for Manufacturing (IfM) following two years studying general engineering.  Emma graduated with a master’s degree and following graduation was offered a job with Tharsus Vision, Blyth in August 2015.

Tharsus Group is the UK’s leading developer and manufacturer of electro-mechanical and automated products for some of the UK’s most innovative companies – many of which are exported around the world.

In her role at Tharsus, Emma supports the Production and Engineering Managers to improve efficiency and safely bring new products to line.

Emma adds, “The role is not just about applying science but working closely with people and processes to find solutions.”

What’s next for you?

“I am studying to become a Chartered Engineer and Tharsus is supporting this. I’m keen to continue participating and supporting primary engineering initiatives in the local community. If it had not been for my family’s influence I may have taken a very different path.  I think more can be done to generate interest in STEM as a profession. More schools should visit factories as well as farms and museums.”