Published: 22nd March 2023
Last November Apprentice Dana Godfrey received the prestigious ‘Rising Star’ accolade, sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London, at the Glass Focus Awards 2022 event hosted by British Glass in Liverpool. Ms Godfrey spoke exclusively to Glass Worldwide (official journal of Glass Sellers) about her career at Beatson Clark and the industry’s need to attract a young and diverse workforce.
GW: What did it mean to you to receive the Rising Star accolade at the Glass Focus Awards 2022 last November?
It was such a surprise for me to win it, to be honest, because there are so many other apprentices who have come so far in developing their skills and talents.
GW: What was your education and at what stage are you with your apprenticeship?
I was brought up in Sheffield and straight after high school I went into an apprenticeship at AMRC [University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre]. I’ve always been good at maths and interested in engineering.
I am at the very end of my apprenticeship and I am so grateful for it because it has allowed me to be able to work independently on machinery and be relied upon to complete tasks and special jobs.
GW: What is your current role with Beatson Clark?
I am a tool maker and I work in the mould repair shop of Beatson Clark. My job varies depending on the day: I could be working on the CNC lathe; I could be working on the manual miller; I could be doing bench work or on cover in the inspection room, or even doing one-off jobs. It truly depends on the day.
GW: What are your key responsibilities?
To make sure that the mould equipment is in tolerance and is ready to be put onto the machine. I also do fault fixing, so if a job isn’t running correctly and needs something fixing, I do that while it’s running – so I need to make sure that I’m working quickly and efficiently.
GW: How did joining Beatson Clark come about?
I discovered Beatson Clark at an event at AMRC. There was a room full of different companies and Beatson Clark drew me in because I believed I’d be able to discover more things and build my skills.
GW: What attracted you to a career in the glass industry?
I was attracted to the glass industry because it is completely different from the other industries. I’d never thought about how glass is made and I was intrigued.
GW: Would you recommend others to follow a career in the glass industry and if so, why?
I would absolutely recommend others to go for a career in glass. There’s a lot of variety within each company so there can be scope to move to a different division and try a completely different job. Also, as with many other manual labour and traditional industries, there’s a demand for younger people to join and contribute their talents.
GW: How did the apprenticeship route help with your entry into the glass industry?
The apprenticeship route was good for me because it allowed me to first build my skills in a controlled environment with others before I was introduced to the workplace, so I felt I was better equipped for the job than if I was being taught on the job.
GW: Having been through the process, are there any changes to the learning content/structure that you believe would benefit both apprentices and sponsoring companies in the future?
My own apprenticeship was structured well and I had support whenever I needed it. I can’t speak for other apprentices in different companies or different departments as I don’t have personal experience to refer to.
GW: In a traditionally male-dominated manufacturing environment, how important is it for the glass industry to further address gender equality?
It’s really important to have gender equality in all sectors of the glass industry, because not only will different people have different skills, but they will also have different ideas on how to carry out tasks. It’s also important, particularly for women, to show that differing levels of strength shouldn’t prohibit someone from being able to do the same job as others.
GW: What advice would you give females and young people considering a career in glass?
To anyone who is thinking about going into a career in glass, I’d say go for it. It’s not only about helping on the production line – there are so many other jobs available, such as working in the offices on finances or marketing, or those like me who work on mould repair.
GW: Who have been the main influences/inspirational personalities in your glass industry career to date and why?
I’d say that Daryl Fletcher [Beatson Clark’s Mould Shop Manager] has had a huge impact on my career because he’s been guiding me through basically everything and he’s challenged me. Everyone in the mould shop has helped me develop into the person I am today, as they have guided me and taught me their skills and continue to do so.
GW: What are the most rewarding aspects of your role at Beatson Clark so far?
It’s really rewarding when I do an alteration on a job because it’s not running correctly and once it goes back on, it’s running correctly.
GW: And the greatest challenges?
I like doing the one-off jobs because they can sometimes be a challenge and I might need to do some difficult calculations to figure out how to machine it.
GW: What are your stand-out achievements to date, either as an individual and as a team member?
Winning the Rising Star award was a great achievement for me because I didn’t expect it but it allowed me to look back at the things I’ve done since starting at Beatson Clark and how far I’ve come.
GW: As part of their Careers In Glass series, how did your video interview1 with British Glass come about?
I was asked by my manager if I wanted to contribute to the video for British Glass and I said yes because I don’t think there are enough women represented in male-orientated industries and I thought it would encourage more women to join. I was really pleased with the video. I think it turned out really well and I’m happy that I had the opportunity to offer my input.
GW: In your opinion, how relevant are trade associations such as British Glass in general?
British Glass is extremely important, in my opinion, because it allows us to use our resources in this country rather than importing everything. Glass is a great resource because it can be recycled and reused endlessly; also, the fact that you can sterilise it is great. Without associations such as British Glass we wouldn’t be able to work together and improve as a whole – we would probably struggle.
GW: What are your hopes and expectations for the future development and direction of your career?
I hope that in the future I can encourage younger people, especially young women to pursue a career in the glass industry. I also hope that I’ll be able to pass down my skills to the next generation.
* The full version of this article appears in the March/April issue of Glass Worldwide. The digital version has been made available here