International Women and Girls in Science Day

February 2022

Sue Sadler has been working at Encirc for the past five years, as a Customer Service Laboratory Analyst. We caught up with her to discuss her career for International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Tell us a little bit about what you do.

Well, the part of my job that people find most interesting is that I taste the wine at Encirc! I’m on the tasting panel so that means I test the beers, wines and soft drinks that we produce here. I’m tasting specifically for faults and each product goes through a rigorous testing process with multiple stages. Faults are often caused by things like too much oxygen or not enough oxygen, but it’s also about recognition – if I’m expecting to taste a Hungarian Pinot Grigio but it’s a South African Chardonnay, we know there’s an issue!

What have you found challenging about your job?

I learn through repetition, so learning to taste for faults was a bit of a challenge for me. To counteract this, I put myself through the training a couple of times to ensure I had enough exposure to take in everything I needed.  I’ve also been studying for a Diploma in wine, which is a two-year course with a lot of exams- I’ve found that to be a big challenge but one I willingly took on!

And the best bit?

Prior to the diploma I’m currently studying towards, I completed the course below it. It didn’t come easily to me at all, and I had to really work for it, but I finished the course with a Distinction and I was so pleased. I enjoy learning and applying what I’ve learned to my work.

Tell us about your journey into STEM?

My degree is in Biomedical Sciences. My background is pharmaceuticals; one of my previous jobs was testing the deadliest neurotoxin known to man, botulinum, which is used in Botox. The drug industry is very different to food and beverages. When you’re working on a drug you test it repeatedly over the course of many months. When I came to Encirc I found the high speed of the operations to be quite a culture shock.

Have you noticed any changes to the gender imbalance in STEM over the years?

We actually had more women than men on our university course, which is a trend I’ve noticed over the years; I’ve often found more women on the health sciences side. The lab in Encirc is quite well balanced, but there are a lot more men on the shop floor. However, in the past two years or so, I’ve noticed more women popping up across the site, which is great to see, particularly in this industry.

Who is your inspiration?

In STEM, I would say most of the women who inspire me are women I’m aware of because of broadcast media. I enjoy watching Alice Roberts, the biological anthropologist. I’d also say Mary Beard, who isn’t a scientist but a strong female role model.

What would you say to a young girl considering a future in science?

Ignore the stereotypes! If you have an interest and a curiosity to enjoy the scientific methods and to see things in a scientific and logical fashion… trust me, that hasn’t got anything to do with gender. There’s this idea that girls aren’t as logical as boys. Ignore that. Stand by your own capabilities and your own beliefs and people will very quickly recognise you for your own abilities, regardless of your gender or the stereotypes that come with it.

Encirc is working hard to increase the number of women in manufacturing and address gender inequality in the workplace. With a range of EDI initiatives, a Women in Manufacturing Committee, and training available, we’re excited to work towards a future where manufacturing is for all.


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