Harriet Caisley

I decided to become an Engineer because it seemed like the logical progression for someone creative and good at maths and physics. After experiencing several engineering taster courses, I knew it was the best path. My grandfather was an engineer – he won the Whitworth Scholarship after leaving school at 16 and taking evening classes. I think it must be in the blood.

I discovered Arkwright Engineering Scholarships while chatting on a ski lift when I was about ten. We were about halfway up the mountain when Arkwright alumnus, then stranger, Sophie told me that I should apply for their scholarship. After this holiday, I kept the link to the Arkwright website saved in my favourites for six years before applying!

The experiences gained from Arkwright helped me get an IMechE Undergraduate Scholarship and go on to study for my MEng in Engineering at the University of Cambridge. After a very tough first two years in general engineering, I specialised in manufacturing. This specialism combined the softer skills of managing people and organisational behaviour with more technical knowledge such as materials, control of production systems, and accounting.

My career began through industrial experiences and internships throughout my degree. Here I experienced a wide variety of projects: automation feasibility in a sandwich factory; reviewing costing methodology and improving employee motivation at an insulation manufacturer; mapping processes to determine the cause of misaligned components at a car manufacture plant; reducing inventory with a beverage producer.

Since I enjoyed projects like these and the variety they provided, I decided to find a job where I could capture this excitement every day! I work for Stroud International, an operations consultancy that operates in Europe and North America. Our selling point is to eliminate critical manufacturing problems in 60 days or less, whether caused by quality issues, increased capacity requirements or cost reduction needs.

I have been working on projects including building Stroud International's sustainability offering. Typically, our projects result in significant environmental benefits. We can pivot our sales offering to help new clients address their operational response to sustainability by measuring these environment benefits. For example, when we reduced the raw material waste of a factory by 80%, we also removed the carbon associated with that waste. We are now well on the way to introducing our sustainability offering – keep an eye out!

I am confident that I would not be where I am today without Arkwright and that first conversation with Sophie.

 "Harriet joined us in August 2020 and stood out from hundreds of applicants to be one of only a couple that received an offer from Stroud. Her experiences so far demonstrated a proven drive, the ability to work well with groups of people, alongside exceptional technical and analytical skills.

"Despite remote working and other COVID restrictions, Harriet has made the most of this challenging situation and become an integral part of our London team. In addition to her own training, Harriet proved indispensable during our recruiting season in October and has worked globally with our American and Canadian offices on a number of internal projects.

"In just a few months she has already had a measurable impact on Stroud: developing a new sustainability offering, a diversity and inclusion initiative, refreshing our website, and teaching us all a few things about the effective use of LinkedIn! Harriet's MET degree and work experience has furnished her with a fantastic understanding of the challenges of manufacturing and management in the real world. We all look forward to seeing her continue to develop and the successful career she no doubt has in front of her."

Rob Potter, Principal at Stroud International

Arkwright Scholar 2014-2016

DS Smith

Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry, Physics

University of Cambridge, Manufacturing Engineering

Associate Consultant, Stroud International