My career in food and drink

Sheena Ross, Project Engineer, Devro

Sheena RossWhat does your organisation do and what is your current job title?

Devro manufactures collagen casings more commonly known as sausage skins.

My current job title is Project Engineer. In this role I coordinate projects to help improve our manufacturing process, aiming to make it more efficient and faster. This helps to increase the volume we manufacture therefore the amount of money the company makes. An example of a project I worked on last year was improving an area of our factory to allow porcine (pork) casings to be manufactured. This involved moving three tanks and making pipework changes to our acid system. I didn't complete the work myself but provided instruction and direction to ensure the work was complete safely and on time.

Give an outline of how you got to this job i.e. school, college/university, first job etc

I took a wide range of standard grades in subjects I enjoyed and wanted to learn more about. In 4th year I researched what kind of job I wanted to do and what qualifications I would need, this helped me pick what Highers to do (maths, physics, English, art and graphic communications). I then went to university and completed a degree in Product Design Engineering. After university my first job was in an engineering consultancy where I did a lot of drawing work before getting a job at Devro.

What skills do you use in your job?

I do a lot of technical drawing which I learned in school. You also need to be well organised, have good time keeping, be a good communicator and a problem solver.

What do you particularly like about your job?

I like a number of different aspects of my job. I enjoy the creative part of designing something and producing the technical drawings. I like team work and working with others to achieve something. I also like planning and coordinating work. Some days I do find it challenging and things can be difficult as everything feels like a juggling act, but once you complete the project you feel a real sense of achievement.

Tell us something unusual or interesting about your job/company

Last year Devro Scotland made approximately 1 billion metres of sausage casing, that is enough to go to the moon 2.5 times.

What is the salary range?

£20,000 to £50,000 depending on level and experience.

What car do you drive?

Mazda 2.

What are the entry qualifications?

Degree in Engineering (or relevant engineering experience, for example a modern apprenticeship)

What did you study at school and how relevant were the subjects?

English, maths, German, history, graphic communications, art, physics, computing.

English I think is very important as you have to communicate daily through emails to colleagues. I also need to write reports and document work.

Computing was also relevant as I spend every day on the computer using Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint, as well as more specialist programs for 3D drawing work.

Maths is relevant as I use this a lot for managing the financial aspects of projects.

Finally, a science subject, such as physics or chemistry, is relevant in engineering and is a requirement for university entry.

What did you want to be when you were 8?

Interior designer.

What do you like most about the food & drink industry/your company?

I like the variety of my job and the challenge of completing projects.

What advice would you give to school pupils thinking about pursuing a career like yours - or any career in the food and drink industry?

Work hard in school and don't be discouraged from doing something you enjoy.

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Last reviewed: 21 Feb 2020