About the Association

SHAPA has been the UK's leading specialist Association for the solids handling and processing industry since its formation in 1981. Our support and assistance has allowed our members to maximise their profitability, whilst taking advantage of the many benefits afforded by the Association.

Louise Richardson / Marketing Manager

Dustcheck - Based in Stoke-on-Trent, Dustcheck is a manufacturer of Dust Control and Air Filtration equipment and is part of the Absolent Group. I manage all aspects of Marketing and Communications for Dustcheck as well as working with the Group Marketing Manager on initiatives across all group companies. My typical responsibilities include: Planning and reporting, and managing all marketing assets such as PR, social media, the website, literature, film and advertising to name but a few.

How many years have you worked in the engineering industry?

In this role, just over three years. I’ve previously worked for marketing agencies and had clients from a mix of industries – including engineering.

What do you love about the engineering industry?

I like any business that makes ‘stuff’. Manufacturing and engineering businesses are full of clever people and I like to be around them. Learning how things work is just interesting – learning how to translate the technical messages to promote to a wider audience is even more interesting! Always a challenge. Dustcheck is all about dust control and air filtration. Sounds utterly boring at first but when you look at the bigger picture of ‘clean air’ and how dust can affect people, equipment and the environment, it opens up a whole new understanding.

Advice for a young woman looking at getting into any aspect of the engineering industry

I’m not an engineer – far from it – but any engineering business needs a good mix of ‘people’ to make it work. Marketing is a quite a female-centric career – whereas engineering is probably more male-centric. I often find B2B companies that make equipment are male dominated in production and female dominated in the offices and support roles. Is this gender split a bad thing? I’ve never got hung up on gender stereotypes. I’m confident enough not to see it as an issue and it’s rare I come up against any issues related to my sex. Does it happen though? Probably! People should just follow a career doing something they love. I work alongside both female and male engineers and I would say the ladies have to shout louder to be heard. Are things changing? Definitely! The next generation of kids will see a much more balanced workforce in all kinds of roles.

Why you think women are important to all aspects of this industry?

Of course women are important! However, I firmly believe it’s all on merit and not anything to do with sex. The media talks a lot about employers having to look at a more ‘diverse’ workforce. I’m not sure that this is the right way around! Employers should employ the best person for the job. Regardless of sex. It’s up to education to parents to treat the sexes more fairly and sure our youngsters have the right skills they need to get onto the workplace on an even footing. With a young daughter myself I would say that this is happening and this is why we’ll see a shift over time with more equality in pay and position. I’m also noticing a shift in work/life balance which is a positive for everyone. The engineering industry can be ‘old fashioned’. However, more businesses are embracing flexible working, part time workers, remote working, etc. This is a huge benefit to women like me who juggle a career and being mum. As the industry aligns itself more with modern ways of working it will open up and expand its appeal to more women

Best Regards - Louise Richardson / Marketing Manager