Deborah joined the Aliaxis UK team in July, as our Technical Specification Consultant for Scotland.
What was your first impression of Aliaxis when you joined?
Definitely how inclusive everybody is. I am in quite a unique situation; I have my own team within specifications, but within Scotland I also have a team that I don't report into, but work with every day. Right off the bat they proactively looked to include me – it made such a big difference! My immediate team have also been amazing - starting a new job can easily become overwhelming but they have really supported me through it, and I haven’t felt overwhelmed once.
What were your career aspirations when you were younger?
I’m actually a fully qualified beauty therapist. I got involved in construction after my first son was born almost 17 years ago now. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed and always had quite a good eye for spaces, so I enrolled at my local college to do my HNC and construction management. I walked into a room full of joiners and trade professionals, who all had all had a strong fundamental background in the industry – and then there was me!
To help with the learning, I enrolled at another college at night time, and did a PDA in bricklaying. I graduated first in my year, which I’m very proud of. Then I moved on to do my HND in Architectural Technology, and when lockdown hit in 2020, I went back and finished my degree at UHI.
What advice would you give to people considering a career in the industry?
I think a lot of people imagine manufacturing as somebody standing on a production line, I know I used to. In reality there’s so much more to it. You can have a long-term career within a manufacturing company if you want it, there are so many departments you can work in and avenues you can take, e.g. sales, marketing, and finance.
The first thing is knowing what you can bring to the party and own it – like with anything you need to go in with confidence and a strong work ethic. Trust the fact that if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know! Being able to approach things with an open mind is a vital life skill. Failing is the best way to learn and grow and a fundamental part of the process.
You have a lot of qualifications for this industry, do you feel they have helped you to progress?
Yes and no, in my opinion. I think qualifications show a level of competency and commitment, but nothing teaches you quite like hands-on experience. Not everyone learns in the same way of course, and that’s why having the option there is important. For me, I liked the combination of experience and courses. That’s what’s great about this industry to be honest, there are so many routes available, into so many departments too!