Fran Salisbury – Director, Canvasman
How long have you worked in manufacturing?
I have been “working” at Canvasman since 1999, 22 years ago, when I met my future husband and our dates consisted of fitting boat covers in the lake District! Since then I worked in every aspect of the business, from sales to design to machining, to developing business plans and strategies.
How important is it for you to speak to pupils, in particular, girls, about your experiences in manufacturing, and what do you hope your involvement will achieve this year?
My hope is that Bradford Manufacturing Weeks, along with the schools and business taking part, can help inspire and encourage young women to look at the potential of pursuing a career in the manufacture sector.
Unfortunately, more often than not, there is the preconception that manufacturing is boring and mechanical work, done in a male dominated, dirty and dangerous workplace.
And even through women make up half of the workforce, they still remain highly underrepresented in the manufacturing sector, especially at managerial levels.
This doesn’t help young women feel like it’s a place they would be comfortable entering or find satisfying and fulfilling careers in. This is a presumption that needs to be addressed and challenged.
Women bring to the sector, not only hard-working attitudes, but creativity, critical thinking, efficiency, and invention, etc … they are untapped talent, which manufacturing needs to attract in order to remain competitive.
One of the keys to Canvasman’s success is having a diverse workforce, where people can bring a range of different skills, mindsets, and experience to make the company more effective, innovative, adaptive, and fun.
There are so many opportunities within manufacturing where women can have interesting and satisfying careers which are both skilful and highly paid. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working in manufacturing, whether it be helping people to create actual products they have designed or developing more efficient systems within the workplace to reduce lead times and generate more profit, or to help colleagues on their own career paths, every day is different, challenging, rewarding and a lot of fun too.