Jocelyn Cole
Jocelyn Cole
General Manager, Penny Hydraulics Ltd

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Close Up
  • Describe what you do in your current work situation.
    I am a Mechanical Engineer working as General Manager of Penny Hydraulics Goods Lifts division. Penny Hydraulics is a manufacturer of lifting equipment, based in Chesterfield. The company design, manufacture, install and service a wide range of lifting equipment including Goods Lifts with a commercial customer base ranging from high street retailers including Arcadia Group and Boots, to global manufacturer BMW and power systems giant Rolls-Royce.
  • Why did you choose engineering?
    I'm naturally methodical, process driven and love to solve problems. Engineering gives the ideal platform to exercise this on a daily basis. Engineering allows you to come up with solutions no one else has thought of and make your mark on the world, it’s a great outlet for the imagination, making it the perfect career choice for independent thinkers like me.
  • Where did you go to school and what degree(s) do you have?
    I went to Outwood Academy Foxhills school in my home town of Scunthorpe. Following school, I was the first female to complete a BTEC National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering at North Lindsey College. I then progressed to Sheffield Hallam University, completing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and then went on to study an MBA in Industrial Management.
  • What kinds of activities have typically been part of your work?
    The main part of my job is to supply 3D CAD manufacturing drawings to our production team so the lifts can be manufactured. I also supply customers with quotations and simplified drawings of the Goods Lift they are enquiring about when they first contact us and liaise with other departments within the business to schedule installation of the lifts at the customers premises. I have recently been involved with a pioneering design automation project and as a result of this, I am one of the faces of The Future of British Manufacturing Initiative. The initiative focus is on gaining a better understanding of the trends that are shaping the design and manufacturing industry. I have therefore spent time speaking at conferences throughout the UK discussing our design automation project and the benefits this has brought to the company.
  • What do you like best about being an engineer?
    Engineering takes teamwork, and I work with all kinds of people inside and outside the field. I'm surrounded by intelligent, inspiring people in my career. In addition, engineering gives me the chance to have a positive effect on everyday life and give back to my community and this applies to all engineers; whether you are involved with highways safety, green energy or lifting equipment as I am, we have the ability to save lives, reduce poverty, prevent disease, and protect the environment.
  • Which of your career accomplishments are you proudest of?
    The design automation project that I ran within Penny Hydraulics, has seen the company’s manufacturing capability increase by 40% and turnover increase by 60%. This has been the career achievement I am most proud of to date.
  • What challenges have you met and conquered in your pursuit of an engineering career?
    I find the hardest thing to deal with is being a working mother; trying to be two people at the same time and the guilt of feeling you’re not good enough in either role. I want to be the perfect mother, who attends classes with my daughter and sits cheering on the front row every dance show. I also want to be a model employee, always on top of my work and prepared for meetings...it's very hard (if not impossible) to do both!
  • Please tell us a little about your family.
    I am very lucky that I have a fantastic support system being me, a Husband who’s always by my side and my parents who look after my daughter while I’m at work so I can do my job without worrying about her happiness or safety. When I’m at work I’m still a mother but I need to focus on being a good Engineer so, I put my head down and work. When I go home it’s quality time at home. While I’m with my daughter the phone is down, the laptop is off and she’s my priority. Making the most quality time is what’s most important to us. This requires a lot of planning, I organise a lot of activities or days out for our family, this gives us both nice things to look forward to together and lots of lovely memories.
  • What are your short-term (1-2 years) and long-term (10+ years) goals?
    Gaining Chartered Engineer status has been a big achievement in my career plan. I have a number of short term plans, like improvement to our design automation process. I'd also like to increase production to enable a second installation team which requires new marketing strategies and product development. Penny Hydraulics are currently extending the factory, I would like to design and implement a new layout increasing productivity and improve the working environment which is currently congested and time is wasted moving between manufacturing areas. I’m also very interested in enterprise systems, so I’m looking to move to a cloud based CRM system to increase integration between offsite and onsite personnel as well as trying to successfully implement new ways of increasing visibility across the departments within the business, perhaps by the use of a PLM system. My long term goal is to be elected to the Board of Directors at Penny Hydraulics to be involved in strategic planning for the business, to enable this I must continue developing staff below to move up the chain. Our current MD, is on the Industrial Advisory Board at Sheffield Hallam University. He will soon be retiring and I will be looking to take his place on the Advisory Board. I aim to increase my involvement in Government initiatives and manufacturing events throughout the Country to raise the profile of UK Engineering. On a personal level I am looking to be elected to a school Governing Body, my daughter has just stated pre-school and I see it as incredibly important to have input of the material being taught, particularly in STEM, as well as ensuring a safe and productive environment. I gave additional tutoring to a GCSE student and he achieved a C grade from a predicted E, which was an incredible achievement and I would like to be able to assist other students in a similar way.
  • What (or who) had/has the greatest influence on your life choices?
    For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be an engineer. I have photographs of me as a little girl dressed up in overalls! I've never wanted to do anything else.
  • What advice would you give to a young woman considering a career in engineering?
    Being on a course which gives practical experience was key in cementing my decision that engineering was what I wanted to do. Completing a BTEC at my technical college gave me a good, practical base to work from, which I would strongly recommend. Get as much exposure in as many different areas of Engineering as you can. Engineering isn’t just fabrication shops anymore it’s exciting and it’s fast paced, there are lots of great innovators in British Manufacturing which is giving fabulous career opportunities. Working within an SME is brilliant as you get to be involved in all areas of design and manufacture, you get a lot of responsibility and opportunities to see areas of the business which would be less accessible in a large organisation.
  • Any other stories or comments you would like to share with EngineerGirl visitors?
    Engineering gives me the chance to have a positive effect on everyday life and give back to my community and this applies to all engineers;
  • Describe something about your life outside of work: your hobbies, or perhaps a favorite book.
    When I go home I’m with my daughter and family time is my priority. Having a supportive employer makes this much easier. They give me flexibility on working hours and let me work from home sometimes which really helps.
Biography

I am a Mechanical Engineer working as General Manager of Penny Hydraulics Goods Lifts division. Penny Hydraulics is a manufacturer of lifting equipment, based in Chesterfield. The company design, manufacture, install and service a wide range of lifting equipment including Goods Lifts with a commercial customer base ranging from high street retailers including Arcadia Group and Boots, to global manufacturer BMW and power systems giant Rolls-Royce.

I have been at the forefront of a pioneering design automation project that has not only seen our company’s manufacturing capability increase by 40% and turnover increase by 60%, but is now also being rolled out as a model for manufacturing companies nationwide to offer smarter working processes and to enable increased operational effectiveness.

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