National Apprenticeships Week – supporting the next generation of engineers

This week is the 15th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships, and Farrat is on a mission to show how accessible mentoring and practical experience is key to ensuring that young people from all walks of life have access to opportunities in engineering and manufacturing.

Farrat will be joining forces with the Social Mobility Foundation, a charity which aims to make a practical improvement in social mobility for high achieving 16–17-year-olds from low-income backgrounds who have the ability to flourish in the top professions, but who lack the networks and guidance in their field to fulfil their potential.

We will be supporting the Social Mobility Foundation through their Aspiring Professionals Programme, helping students via mentoring, work placements, further education application advice and professional skills development sessions.

Having already worked with the Social Mobility Foundation in 2021, with work placement access for those looking for a good insight into what it means to work for an engineering company with global reach, we are excited to put extended time and effort into nurturing the engineering talent of the future.

Mentors at Farrat

Those from Farrat acting as mentors will support students in a number of ways, including increasing their understanding of their desired career and professional life. The mentoring relationship is extremely valuable in helping to guide mentees through their time on the Social Mobility Foundation programme, their further education or university applications, and in helping them to explore their professional interests further.

“A key part of our Farrat vision is a sustained commitment to local communities, STEM and social mobility, and in 2022 we will be working towards ambitious targets within our social mobility success pillar, to support young and socially disadvantaged people in our community,” states Sally Moxon, Head of People at Farrat.

“At Farrat, we believe it is so important to build a diverse workforce of talent for the future, as well as giving something back to the communities in which we live and work. Our partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation will be instrumental in helping us to provide opportunities to talented young people and help them to fulfil their potential, both now and in their future careers.”

On a mission to reduce the engineering skill shortage in the UK

Not only will this be rewarding for those involved and helpful to the young people being mentored, but this will help to safeguard the future of engineering in the UK.

The UK needs to significantly increase the number of people with engineering skills. In 2014, it was reported that the annual shortfall of STEM skills was 40,000. In 2017, the annual shortfall of the right engineering skills was still anywhere between 25,500 and up to 60000.

We need to double, at least, the number of UK based university engineering students. Encouraging young people from a wider range of backgrounds that might not have had the knowledge or means to go into engineering, will not only reduce this skills shortage, but bring exciting new perspectives to the sector.

Find out more

To learn more about Farrat’s upcoming social mobility projects, follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram where we regularly share stories about our people, industries, and the wider community.

Or get in touch with the Social Mobility Foundation to find out more about accessing the Aspiring Professionals Programme.

INWED 2021

Let’s Talk: International Women In Engineering Day 2021 (IWED)  

This week, in celebration of International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) – a global awareness campaign launched by the Womens Engineering Society (WES), which aims to raise the profile of women in engineering – we spoke to our team to get their views on gender equality within engineering and to understand what this year’s theme, ‘Engineering Heroes’, means to them.   

Applications Engineer – Ailish Hepburn 

“I have three key engineering legends,” says Ailish Hepburn, Applications Engineer at Farrat.  “Ada Lovelace was a female mathematician and invented the first computer.  Alice Parker was an African American woman who created the first central heating system.  Emily Roebling led the design and construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.  

These engineers inspire me because they challenged social expectations and created inventions that changed the world for the better. All three women recognised a problem and then created the solution. Their contributions helped establish female roles within engineering.”  


Senior Applications Engineer – Dan Warren 

“Admittedly I have never really had any engineering heroes or role models, male or female.

But when considering gender balance, I’ve been fortunate enough to know, learn alongside and work with incredibly talented women in engineering roles across some fantastic technical projects.

I believe that the balance is slowly shifting, with STEM professions not being as male dominated as they perhaps used to be.” 






Project Delivery Manager – Adriana Leotta 

 “I’ve had several strong female role models in my life.  My mum – before retiring – was a maths teacher at a primary school. She noticed that I liked symbols and numbers from an early age and taught me how to count and understand basic math equations before I started school. In high school, my science teacher had a strong guiding influence on me.  She understood that I loved numbers and science and encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone.

I also had an incredible teacher at University, who is still teaching Structural Analysis. The vibes she spread around the room during lessons were incredible. Whilst at University she was my role model, and I knew that I want to be like her. My ultimate engineering legend is Amelia Earhart, who was technically an aviator not an ‘engineer’.  Her achievements piloting independently for so far as a trailblazer for women, makes her a legend to me”.   


CEO – Oliver Farrell 

“At Farrat we’re pleased to have a diverse workforce with all genders well represented. It’s also why we offer mentoring and work experience wherever possible to demonstrate that an engineering environment should no longer be considered a male environment. I have three daughters, and I’d like to think that every career is open to them.  That’s how the next generation of girls should feel, and I’d love to see the numbers even out in engineering.  Gender diversity – as with all diversity – makes for a more creative, productive and fun working environment.” 

IWED Background 

INWED began in the UK in 2014 as a national campaign from the Women’s Engineering Society (WES). Since then, INWED has grown enormously, receiving UNESCO patronage in 2016 and going truly global the following year.  

The Women’s Engineering Society (WES) is an English charity, founded in 1919 at the end of the First World War, when women who had been employed in technical fields found it difficult, if not impossible, to continue working as engineers. A change in the law to return women engineers to the home just as their sisters were admitted into the civil service and legal professions, led to the establishment of WES by pioneering and influential women. 

WES has worked tirelessly for over a hundred years to ensure equality for women in engineering. Today WES’ mission is to support women in engineering to fulfil their potential and support the engineering industry to be inclusive. 

The aim of INWED campaigns is to encourage all groups to think about organising their own activities in support of the day and link them together for maximum impact using the INWED logo/campaign, corresponding website, and supporting resources. 


Latest ‘Women in Engineering’ Stats 

The news in 2020 that the number of women applying for engineering courses has nearly doubled in the last 10 years demonstrated encouraging progress towards closing the gender gap in the field of engineering.  However, the number of women studying engineering compared to men is still very low.   

In 2020, there were 119,250 male applicants to engineering courses, and just 29,200 female applicants.  This is a challenge that we see across STEM professions in general.   

When surveying the number of women working in STEM professions in Europe, of the 36 countries examined – which include non-EU states such as Norway, Switzerland and Turkey – only six had 50% or over of female scientists or engineers.   

So, whilst there has been much development recently – an increase in applications, a growing level of interest and strong female role models – there is still a long way to go.  Farrat are looking to work hard at all levels to ensure that progress in equality continues within engineering. 



Farrat Academy – Engineers on a mission to help homeschool with STEM

At Farrat we have a team full of people passionate about STEM.

During Lockdown 3.0 we understand that home-schooling was tough, but maybe you’ve got a taste for carrying out some fun but educational activities with your little engineers?

If you are looking for something a bit different, then our team at Farrat are putting together a few STEM @ Home ideas for the next generation of engineers and scientists and we are looking to have a lot of fun too! Each week we will be adding more STEM experiment ideas to try at home and we hope that you find them educational, fun and enjoyable.

Browse our Farrat Academy STEM @ Home activities below.

Episode 11: How to make an articulated hand

This is Account Development Specialist Ginette Collins showing you how to make an articulated hand.

Ginette has worked in engineering companies most of her working life and has spent the last 12 of those years at Farrat.  She’s an expert in all areas of our structural thermal break offering, and works with clients around the world to make sure their projects are as efficient as possible.

Farrat Articulated Hand

Episode 10: How to make a magnetic compass

This is Applications Engineer Dominika Maciejewska showing you how to make a magnetic compass.

Dominika studied Materials Engineering in Bydgoszcz, Poland. She’s worked on projects ranging from houses and residential developments, through to international cultural centres and high-rise skyscrapers.

Episode 9: Which molecules are afraid of water?

This is Applications Engineer Ailish Hepburn showing you which molecules are afraid of water, which aren’t, and why.

Ailish is a highly accomplished graduate with a Masters in Physics and Business Management from the University of Leeds, where she also worked in STEM Education Outreach, demonstrating science experiments to the general public.


Episode 8: How size impacts energy – a bouncing balls experiment

This is Applications Engineer Dan Warren showing you how size impacts energy using footballs and tennis balls.

Dan has worked as an engineer on some amazing projects including auditoriums, cinemas, high rise tower buildings, and is currently on the team working on a new concert hall and future home to the Manchester International Festival.

Episode 7: How to make a telescope

This is Industrial Commercial Manager Kedar Vanbatte with his daughter showing you how to make a telescope.

Kedar is originally from India, and has worked with architects, developers, builders and manufacturers all over the world improving efficiency and productivity.

Farrat Telescope

Episode 6: How to make a bouncy egg

This is Project Delivery Manager Adriana Leotta showing you how to make a bouncy egg.

Adriana is a Building Engineer originally from Italy, who speaks four languages! When she’s not bouncing egg she works on projects including world class concert venues, city centre high rise residential buildings and cinemas around the world.

Episode 5: How to build a Cantenary Arch Bridge

This is Marketing Manager Charlene Giles showing you how to build a Cantenary Arch Bridge.

Charlene has worked in the construction and engineering industry for 10 years and has seen literally hundreds of construction projects go up in that time.  Her favourite subject at school was Art and Design and her partner is actually a bridge engineer, so she has insider knowledge in this area!

how to build a bridge

Episode 4: How to make a floating floor using elasticity

This is Applications Engineer Dan Warren showing you how to how to build a floating floor.

Dan has worked as an engineer on some amazing projects including auditoriums, cinemas, high rise tower buildings, and is currently on the team working on the new concert hall and  future home to the Manchester International Festival; The Factory

Episode 3: How to make a paper skyscraper

This is Structural Thermal Break Commercial Manager Chris Lister showing you how to how to build a skyscraper tower using only two pieces of paper.

Chris has years of experience in engineering and has worked on tower projects including the Shard and the tallest building in Denmark.

paper tower

Episode 2: Using transpiration to make multicoloured flowers

This is Louise Dixon from our marketing team showing you how to make multicoloured flowers using transpiration. 

Louise studied biology at university and her plan for lockdown 3.0 is to carry out as many science experiments as possible with her daughter, without managing to cause irreparable damage to the house!


Episode 1: How to make an igloo – inside and out

Here is Oliver Farrell from our office in Switzerland showing you how to make an igloo.
If there is not enough snow, we have some indoor ideas too.

Oliver is a family man with 3 young daughters. Alongside of this, he is the CEO of Farrat.  In short, if he cannot build an igloo, no one can.

Oliver Farrat Igloo

Coming soon

  • Episode 11: How to make an articulated hand (with moving fingers)
  • Episode 12: How to grow a garlic army.

Farrat sponsor the Manufacturing Institute’s Make it Enterprise Challenge

The winners trophy for the Cheshire Heat of the Make It Enterprise Challenge

Last Thursday, Farrat was delighted to sponsor and attended the latest round of the The Manufacturing Institute‘s Make It Enterprise Challenge in Knutsford, where 12 schools from across Cheshire took part in a STEM competition to create a hygienic, efficient and profitable food factory. 

The Make It campaign delivered by The Manufacturing Institute, is a STEM initiative aimed at attracting the brightest and best new talent into manufacturing and promoting the sector as an exciting and rewarding career option for young people.

Since 2006, over 30,000 young people and teachers have participated directly in hands-on manufacturing-focused activities that are proven to improve their perceptions of careers in the sector.

In last weeks Cheshire heat, which was sponsored by Farrat and four other North West manufacturers including Air Products, Coveris, Altimex and TATA Chemicals Europe, teams of 13 and 14 year-old boys and girls from local schools were tasked with establishing their own mini-manufacturing businesses in a bid to reach the 2019 Finals.

Students had to design and create a Clean Hygienic Efficient Food Factory for a commercial food manufacturer and complete a series of tasks in specific job roles. Roles ranged from Managing Director to Operations Managers, Finance, Sales and Marketing Managers.

Once their factories were planned, costed and 3D modeled, students then had to develop a sales and marketing strategy and then pitch their fully costed ideas in a Dragons’ Den-style presentation. Help could be gained from Facilitators and Customer Advisers during the day.

The judging panel included Farrat Production Leader Gareth Hogburn.

As a Fellow of The Manufacturing Institute who is trained in the latest LEAN Manufacturing principles & practices, Gareth had a great time quizzing and praising teams on their innovative design choices.

Farrat Production Team Leader Gareth quizzing each team
Farrat Production Team Leader Gareth helping local schools develop their factory ideas
Eleven local schools lined up to win the Cheshire Heat of the MakeIt Enterprise Challenge
Twelve local schools lined up to win the Cheshire heat of the Make It Enterprise Challenge
Farrat proudly sponsored alongside Tata Chemicals, Air Products and Coveris
Farrat proudly sponsored alongside other North West manufacturers
Pointon High School crowned the winners of the Cheshire Heat in the Make It Enterprise Challenge
Poynton High School crowned the winners of the Cheshire Heat in the Make It Enterprise Challenge

All the schools showed great effort, enthusiasm and passion for manufacturing.

After much deliberation, congratulations went to Poynton High School who were crowned winners and took home the trophy of the Chesire Heat. Poynton will now go through to the final next year, to compete against finalists from across the UK.

The Manufacturing Institute –  is an independent charity founded to educate, inspire and improve manufacturing companies and their employees. They deliver a wide range of high quality education, training and consultative services. For more info please visit:

For more information on STEM events run or facilitated by Farrat, please contact us.