Women in manufacturing – From First Apprentice to Female at the Front

 In Bradford Manufacturing Week 2018, Women in manufacturing

Victoria Wainwright, Managing Director, Naylor Wintersgill Chartered Accountants discusses women in manufacturing

It has been reported that women in manufacturing remain under-represented with EEF previously releasing figures showing only 10% of the manufacturing and engineering workforce were female. As a managing director in a profession also previously seen as being male-dominated, Victoria Wainwright of Naylor Wintersgill Chartered Accountants shares her personal experience of apprenticeships and her challenges of achieving success.

How did you get to where you are today?

“When I left school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. My Gran spotted a job advert in the local paper for a trainee accountant in Bradford and needing a sense of purpose, I applied for the position. I went on to become the very first apprentice at Naylor Wintersgill and qualified with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in the year 2000.  Throughout my career I have experienced much recognition for my success having won several awards including the prestigious national ‘ICAEW New Accountant of the Year’ by Accountancy Age in 1999 and ‘Inspirational Business Women of the Year’ at the Bradford Inspirational Women Awards in 2013.

I’d always had plenty of drive but entering the firm as an apprentice really nurtured and encouraged that. Now as managing director of the largest firm of chartered accountants in Bradford, I hope that my journey can be an inspiration to young females looking to succeed. Initiatives like Bradford Manufacturing Week will help female students to recognise just how exciting and progressive an apprenticeship can be and through its work experience days, workshops and learning events highlight the diverse career opportunities available in manufacturing.”

What challenges have you faced in your career?

“Female leaders of accountancy firms were virtually unheard of over 50 years ago but I believe that, with determination to succeed, you can build a successful and rewarding career in any sector perceived as being male dominated. Now times have changed and we have many more females represented in senior roles across the company than ever here at Naylor Wintersgill and I am passionate about ensuring the young female talent of the future are confident in their ability to succeed. If you know your stuff it’s easy to shine – whatever industry you’re in.

Moving up through the ranks could have been a daunting prospect as a female but having a good mentor and a commitment to networking really helped me to progress in my career.  I was encouraged to take advantage of any opportunities as well as to make new contacts and meet new people. I believe this can prove extremely valuable regardless of the sector you are working within.

At Naylor Wintersgill, we regularly engage with young people from local schools and colleges who still have the perception that a career in accountancy is just about being ‘good at maths’ and it is often challenging for us to help them to see it’s so much more than just numbers.  I am excited to see Bradford Manufacturing Week fulfil its aim of changing perceptions of manufacturing as a positive career option and raise awareness of the diverse range of skills involved.”

Encouraging females to think about a career in manufacturing

“The accessibility of job opportunities for all young people in the local area is important to Naylor Wintersgill. We work closely with a large number of owner-managed businesses in the manufacturing industry and we know that addressing the skills shortage and in particular the shortage of women in STEM careers is crucial to the movement of breaking down the gender division barriers in industry. We have been offering an apprenticeship programme to grow and develop our workforce in Bradford for over 25 years and just like a career in accountancy, a manufacturing apprenticeship could be the perfect career path for any young person with a desire to work as a part of a team and achieve success.

Realising your ambitions is partly down to how you communicate with people, regardless of gender and I am extremely keen to support Bradford Manufacturing Week in its aim to engage and encourage young talent in the district.  I hope that the initiative will inspire young women to pursue an apprenticeship and a career in manufacturing. Just like me, you never know where it might lead!”

About Naylor Wintersgill

Naylor Wintersgill is the leading firm of chartered accountants in Bradford city centre and we have been passionate about supporting our clients, many of whom are part of the local manufacturing community, to grow and succeed in Bradford for over 100 years.

If you would like to find out more about how Naylor Wintersgill could help you and your business grow and succeed, visit the website www.naylorwintersgill.com to see full the range of services and support on offer from Victoria and her team.

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