International Women in Engineering Day: Meet Natalie, Production Controller at CMP Products

To celebrate Women in Engineering Day 2024, we sat down with Natalie a Production Controller at British Engines company, CMP Products.

Alongside managing a team of 46, Natalie has taken on additional roles as an Emergency Responder, Culture Champion and STEM Ambassador, whilst also completing a leadership course funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering!

Tell us about your role and journey into engineering…

Throughout my twenties I worked as an Overseas Manager in the travel and tourism industry. It was in this role that I learnt about health, safety and quality processes, resource management and lean processes, all skills which have transferred well into my current role as Production Controller.

After my time overseas, I worked as a Project Officer at AkzoNobel. The company had built a state-of-the-art paint manufacturing plant and my role was to help them phase from commissioning full-scale production and support the coordination of ‘Quick Resolution Projects’ within the engineering team. Once the factory had gone into full production, I became a Cell Leader, where I managed a production team. During my time, I reviewed and implemented new standard operating procedures (SOPs) and embedded safety standards, all skills which I have put into action in my role at CMP.

What made you want to work at CMP?

I’m from the North East so I love the fact that CMP is part of North East based, British Engines. I was also attracted to the fact that CMP is a market leading company which reinvests its profits to improve and grow. Since joining the cleats division, we’ve grown 40% in volume because of investment in new equipment and people. The business is rapidly expanding across all divisions so I’m sure we’re going to have a successful future that I’m excited to be a part of!

The company also places a lot of emphasis on the success and wellbeing of its people. I recently became a Culture Champion which means I’m part of a committee focused on employee engagement and charity initiatives.

I’m also coming towards the end of a nine month leadership course which I was nominated for. The course is part of a 21st Century Workforce Initiative for Northumberland and funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering. There are over 100 employees taking part from both public and private sector organisations across the region so it’s been interesting to share knowledge on common challenges and learn new skills.


Go for it! Don’t be afraid or put off, even if you’re the only girl in your class that’s interested, just go for it because you could be the best person to do that job. Don’t waste the opportunity!

What does a regular day look like in your role?

I oversee the end-to-end cleat production cycle to make sure that we are delivering on time and in full to our customers. This includes monitoring how we’ve performed during the previous 24 hours, checking we’re on track with the production schedule, responding to customer enquiries and planning for future orders over the coming weeks and months.

I manage a team of 46 production staff so this includes performance management and employee training, as well as overseeing health and safety practices on the shop floor. We’re currently using the ILUO (Identified, Learning, Understand, Others) Skills Matrix to assess our team’s skills and identify any training opportunities that could improve operational effectiveness.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Definitely the people, everyone I work with is absolutely lovely and I’ve made some really good friends!

What are the challenges?

We’re rapidly expanding and have lots of orders coming in, so it can be a challenge to fit everything in! I recently learnt how to do offline laser programming as we had a skills gap in that area. This means I am able to create a nest programme using software to map out how our products are cut and minimise any waste material during this stage of production.

What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

We are producing cable cleats for Hinkley Point which is a new nuclear power station based in Somerset in the UK. CMP won the tender to produce bespoke, fire-resistant cable cleats. They’re different to standard cleat because they have more components in them, so they pose a new level of complexity for the production team. There hasn’t been a nuclear power station built in the UK for over 20 years, so it is exciting to be involved!

I also recently became a STEM Ambassador for the British Engines Group which has allowed me to get involved in inspiring the next generation of engineers. Usually when you think of women in engineering, the focus is on design engineers or women with engineering degrees, but there are so many other critical engineering jobs. I’m a perfect example of this, I didn’t go to university, I don’t have an engineering degree, but the life skills I have developed throughout my career have been transferable to my current role. I’m really passionate about getting the message out there to young people to show that there are lots of different ways to get into engineering.

How have you found being a woman in engineering?

I’m definitely a minority as the only female in my team, but that being said, we have a lot more women working in other areas of CMP and within the other British Engines businesses. In my previous company, AkzoNobel, there were fewer women as well. Statistically, it is a male dominated industry but there’s no need for it to be. I absolutely love it!

International Women in Engineering Day IWED 2024 Natalie

What do you like to do outside of work?

I love spending time with my family, I’ve got two gorgeous twins who are six years old. We’re normally doing a school project or something fun together after school. I also really enjoy DIY, I’ve got an old Edwardian house, so my partner and I have been renovating over the past couple of years. I’m obsessed with period features and like do enjoy a bit of gardening.

What three words would your friends and family use to describe you?

I would say passionate, adventurous and creative.

What advice would you give to a female thinking about a career in engineering?

Go for it! Don’t be afraid or put off, even if you’re the only girl in your class that’s interested, just go for it because you could be the best person to do that job. Don’t waste the opportunity!

Thank you for speaking to us Natalie, we hope your story inspires lots of future female leaders within the engineering industry! Find out more about the job opportunities we have at the British Engines Group.