Plant & Works Engineering
Women in Engineering Day
Published:  22 June, 2016

Case Study – Mars Petcare

After completing a degree in mechanical engineering at Birmingham University, Sarah Sordy, plant manager at Mars Petcare’s site at Birstall, started her career at Mars Petcare on its two-year graduate engineering programme. She then moved onto a full-time project-engineering role at Mars’ wet pet food site at Melton Mowbray, where she was promoted through the engineering team, finally to chief engineer. In 2012, Sarah took the role of operations manager at Birstall, and in April 2016 became plant manager of the site, where she leads a team of 240 in the manufacture of world-renowned pet care and treat products including PEDIGREE Dentastix and PEDIGREE Schmakos.

Sarah explained she has always had a passion for making things – big or small. At school, she had a keen interest in maths and science and enjoys the tangibility of working in the FMCG industry – looking after production lines, installing new ones and working as a team to get a product onto shelves: “We make over a million PEDIGREE Dentastix in a day and the fact that I can go into a supermarket and pick up something I know that my team and myself have made is a fantastic feeling. For me, job satisfaction is about seeing something tangible at the end of the day.”

Sarah also explains that being a woman has never been an issue for her, thanks to supportive mentors who have inspired her from her school days until today: “I’ve got a lot to thank my chemistry teacher, Mrs Riley, for. She fostered links with RAF Cranwell and enabled me to go on a two-week work experience with the RAF engineering officers. I’ve been in my flight suit, walking around the hangars and got the opportunity to go in a Harrier jump jet. It was amazing and I’ve been hooked ever since.

“I do remember a couple of years into my career looking around and realizing I was the only girl in the room. But things are changing. Having women in senior roles in manufacturing is less and less unusual. There really is no barrier today to a career in manufacturing and engineering as a woman. ”