Women have the same opportunities at Schütte even in technical areas

Women in technical workplaces is nothing new at Schütte. And we have had positive experiences in this area. Women enrich company interaction and often introduce new perspectives and approaches to solutions. 

Women approach tasks in a completely different manner, which can be a great advantage particularly to employees in mixed teams. In any case, the requirements in technical professions have changed considerably. Areas that previously demanded muscular strength now require logical and analytical thinking and well-structured working principles. Women with an interest in technology meet these requirements particularly well. It is precisely for this reason that we encourage girls and young women to decide on a professional career in our technical departments.

Some of our female employees now report on their exciting typical workday in production, assembly and design:

Luisa Zobel came to Schütte in 2014 as a project manager for tool grinding machines. The variety of her work is what appreciates most. "Of course there are some tasks that reoccur but, particularly in project planning, you often have to react spontaneously. In many cases, there is no fixed path to a solution so you have to react flexibly and, occasionally, creatively" says Luisa Zobel. "I am in contact with all relevant departments. As project manager, you have an overview of the complete project and have to assemble the different modules as seamlessly as possible".

The question as to her career choice is quickly answered. "My strengths were always in the area of mathematics and science. I considered studying mechanical engineering, architecture and automotive engineering. I decided on mechanical engineering because it offers the most opportunities after a study course. At that time, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. Directly after my course, I worked as a design engineer in special machine construction. The daily routine in the long run, however, involved too much work at a separate PC. Because I couldn't imagine working in a pure sales job, I looked for something related to technology, with social contacts, planning and organisation. I found all this in the position of project manager". 

The thing Luisa Zobel likes best of all in her job is that she never knows what's going to happen next. "Social contacts are made with colleagues, customers and suppliers. You have an overview of a complete project and not just sections of it. In spite of this, you still have a strong technical relation to the product and you're involved in production and assembly processes" explains the engineer.

She has a very positive view to working in a "man's world". "Of course you shouldn't take everything you hear literally but, conversely, it's safe to say what you think without someone feeling insulted. I think interaction is more honest than with predominantly female colleagues. Occasionally your capabilities are underestimated; however, in the course of a discussion or activity this is quickly corrected. It is important, above all with physical activities, that you're not afraid to ask for help when it's impossible to do it by yourself". For Luisa Zobel, one advantage of working an predominantly male environment is the open and honest working atmosphere. Personal quarrels do not play a role at all in the daily work routine. "Of course you like some colleagues more than others but this doesn't result in silly mind games that are more frequently observed among women. As far as work is concerned, this is a big advantage because objectives are achieved faster when you don't have to worry continuously about sensitivities". 

She does not regard special promotional measures for women in technical professions as necessary. "I think if a woman feels attracted to a technical profession and she enjoys it, then she also has a good chance of working in this area. Special promotion would result in these women being "separated" from the rest of the workforce. In my opinion, equal opportunity and pay is of course a prerequisite," says the project manager". Her advice to women and girls interested in technology: "Don't be scared off by the notion of the 'man's world'. Women are taken seriously here and accepted just as any other colleagues." 

Luisa Zobel, project manager

Luisa Zobel, project manager

Andschana Steuer has been with Schütte since 2009 and first completed her training as an electronic technician for production engineering. After successfully passing her final examination, she was taken over at the start of 2013 in the assembly department for our multi-spindle automatic lathes.

Her daily routine includes work on the "SCX", the latest machine generation. In the preparation phase, all cables are first labelled and the connectors inserted. The following work sequence is organised and co-ordinated with colleagues from other specialist departments. The machine is assembled and Andschana Steuer's tasks now include the routing of cables. 

"The route to my dream job was not always easy for me because I really didn't know what I wanted to do", states Andschana Steuer. "I started with hands-on training in the savings bank, but that was too boring for me. Then I started professional training in the commercial-technical sector, which was a lot more fun. Following a test in the employment office which covered, among other things, logical thinking and spatial awareness, my desire to train as an electronic technician was cemented". The thing about the job that is special to Ms. Steuer is the variety and the fact that she never stops learning and has plenty of further training opportunities: "I am now training as a general technician. There are lots of new subjects and it is certainly very extensive".

She has a very relaxed view to working in a male-dominated environment and adds humorously: "I don't know what it's like to work with women alone. But dealings with one another are very relaxed". She also greatly appreciates the informal and cheerful atmosphere among the colleagues.

Andschana Steuer sees no major disadvantages in working in a typical male profession: "Sometimes it is physically strenuous but the colleagues are very helpful and offer to help without prompting – I don't always have to ask them myself".

Her tip to girls and young women that are interested in the technical area: "Just start a professional training programme and you'll see if you like it".

Andschana Steuer, electronic technician for production engineering

Andschana Steuer, electronic technician for production engineering

Vera Scharpenberg is a mechanical engineer and has been at Schütte since May 2014. She works as a project manager in our Design department and, in this function, accompanies machines from the order confirmation up to delivery to the customer. After she has configured the ordered machine in SAP according to the customer's wishes, Ms. Scharpenberg co-ordinates the necessary processes in the areas assembly, inspection and setting and works out solutions for any problems that may occur.

Ms. Scharpenberg values, in particular, the new challenges every day and the variety of a typical workday. "It is an exciting mixture of work with people and machines." Already as a school student she had a desire to take up a technical profession: "I was always interested in technology. In school, for example, I had the most fun with mathematics and physics and they always came easy to me. When choosing my academic study, I swung between mathematics and mechanical engineering. I chose the latter because the course seemed to me to be more practice-oriented."

Because it is predominantly men who work in engineering professions, now and again I have to convince people that I am a competent contact person. Ms. Scharpenberg, however, also sees advantages in working in a mainly male environment. "I find it a very positive experience and uncomplicated. There is no bickering, the atmosphere is relaxed but still results-oriented. Problems are addressed directly."

Ms. Scharpenberg wishes that recognition of women in technical professions continues to increase in future and has advice for other women and girls who are interested in this area: "Act with a healthy portion of self-confidence, don't let problems get you down and don't let a low proportion of women make you insecure! If you are interested, find a practical training position in a technical area to see if you can imagine doing this kind of work."

Vera Scharpenberg, project manager

Vera Scharpenberg, project manager

In 1997, Martina Jokel began training at Schütte as an electronic technician for system technology and has remained loyal to the company every since. After passing her final examination, she was taken over in 2001 in the electrical assembly department.

Although Ms. Jokel completed practical training in other areas when she was still a school student, early on in her career she knew that she wanted to do something in the technical area. She initially wanted to train as a carpenter but unexpected problems cropped up: "It didn't work out in that environment because no sanitary facilities were provided for women". Consultation with the employment office quickly revealed that a career as an energy system electronic technician would be the correct choice. Although she applied at that time to many companies, she chose to come to Schütte. "Because the trainer at that time was a great guy, he did his job really well. He was glad to have a female electronic technician. He was really proud because I was the first. Schütte already had female fitters but I was the first electronic technician. I felt that I was well accepted."

Ms. Jokel's typical workday is very varied: "Most of the time I assembled PC machines but I also did something organisational: material procurement. At the moment I am working together with Ms. Steuer at the SCX, at the big machines, but usually I am fairly flexible and also deployed as such. I think I'm very versatile. This means that I know what's going in the factory and the new things interest me too." It is precisely this variety but also the opportunity to work independently that makes the job so attractive to her. "I can organise some of the work on my own. For example, I can say today I'm not laying the lines, I'll do that tomorrow. Of course it has to be done some time. In a production system, after all, other areas that also want to get finished depend on this work."

Ms. Jokel can rely on the readiness to help of her male colleagues even though she carries out most of the work on her own. "It is mainly my own personal decision not to ask 'Come here and help me for a minute'. Otherwise, the colleagues are very helpful."

To ensure that more girls embrace technical areas, Ms. Jokel says more commitment in the schools is required and, above all, more opportunities for practical professional experience: "This requires correct guidance and increased support in schools. People need more practical experience - also in schools. You can't just fill exercise books all the time and copy everything from the blackboard, that won't help. We do practical things here with our hands and this has to be better articulated".

Martina Jokel, electronic technician for system technology

Martina Jokel, electronic technician for system technology

Luisa Zobel

Luisa Zobel came to Schütte in 2014 as a project manager for tool grinding machines. The variety of her work is what appreciates most. "Of course there are some tasks that reoccur but, particularly in project planning, you often have to react spontaneously. In many cases, there is no fixed path to a solution so you have to react flexibly and, occasionally, creatively" says Luisa Zobel. "I am in contact with all relevant departments. As project manager, you have an overview of the complete project and have to assemble the different modules as seamlessly as possible".

The question as to her career choice is quickly answered. "My strengths were always in the area of mathematics and science. I considered studying mechanical engineering, architecture and automotive engineering. I decided on mechanical engineering because it offers the most opportunities after a study course. At that time, I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do. Directly after my course, I worked as a design engineer in special machine construction. The daily routine in the long run, however, involved too much work at a separate PC. Because I couldn't imagine working in a pure sales job, I looked for something related to technology, with social contacts, planning and organisation. I found all this in the position of project manager". 

The thing Luisa Zobel likes best of all in her job is that she never knows what's going to happen next. "Social contacts are made with colleagues, customers and suppliers. You have an overview of a complete project and not just sections of it. In spite of this, you still have a strong technical relation to the product and you're involved in production and assembly processes" explains the engineer.

She has a very positive view to working in a "man's world". "Of course you shouldn't take everything you hear literally but, conversely, it's safe to say what you think without someone feeling insulted. I think interaction is more honest than with predominantly female colleagues. Occasionally your capabilities are underestimated; however, in the course of a discussion or activity this is quickly corrected. It is important, above all with physical activities, that you're not afraid to ask for help when it's impossible to do it by yourself". For Luisa Zobel, one advantage of working an predominantly male environment is the open and honest working atmosphere. Personal quarrels do not play a role at all in the daily work routine. "Of course you like some colleagues more than others but this doesn't result in silly mind games that are more frequently observed among women. As far as work is concerned, this is a big advantage because objectives are achieved faster when you don't have to worry continuously about sensitivities". 

She does not regard special promotional measures for women in technical professions as necessary. "I think if a woman feels attracted to a technical profession and she enjoys it, then she also has a good chance of working in this area. Special promotion would result in these women being "separated" from the rest of the workforce. In my opinion, equal opportunity and pay is of course a prerequisite," says the project manager". Her advice to women and girls interested in technology: "Don't be scared off by the notion of the 'man's world'. Women are taken seriously here and accepted just as any other colleagues." 

Luisa Zobel, project manager

Luisa Zobel, project manager