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Spotlight: Andrew Bell - Production Supervisor, Semefab

Tell us a fun fact about yourself.

I am my organisations first STEM Ambassador.

I would say I am not STEM orientated; in fact I did not overly enjoy these subjects at school nor did I pursue them in further education – yet the best job I have had is STEM focused.

Tell us about your career journey so far.

My career journey has involved ten years working in retail and ten years in the Electronics Industry. Within each of these sectors my roles have always progressed moving from shop floor/assistant/operator gaining knowledge of processes and procedures to management roles such as team leader and supervisor.

I ended up in the Electronics Industry purely by chance where I had moved away from retail into Banking as a Mortgage Collections Consultant. However due to the nature of this job I became aware quickly that it was not for me, and I should explore a new challenge elsewhere.

I submitted my CV through an advert online and was lucky enough to be offered a position as a Photolithographer. I have enjoyed working here from day one as it was something completely new to me, providing me with new skills and allowed scope for progression.

What was your favourite subject in school and why?

Drama – the variance of the subject and the skills you can employ made it different and exciting.

Depending on the lesson, each day was different. It may mean I was working solo one day but the next I could be working as part of a team. Or I could be studying theory and the next week be working on a practical project.

This subject really allowed me to develop skills that I have used in each occupation but also allowed me to adapt them to different situations.

What subjects/qualifications/skills are useful for your role?

Communication skills are very important in my role. I must communicate with many people for different reason and via different methods every day. Being able to communicate well makes all the difference in my position to ensure that priorities are understood, issues can be resolved, targets can be met, and teams can be motivated.

My degree in Business also plays a strong part as a member of the Management Team as this has given me the knowledge required to work smartly in achieving goals individually, as a team and as an organisation.

What is your favourite thing about your job?

I enjoy the fact that each day is never the same. There are so many variants to my working day, whether it is the tools we are working with, the processes we are dealing with or the people in our team.

Each day a new challenge can be presented, and this keeps my job exciting as I may know the solution to a problem straight away or it may be something that challenges me to push myself or perhaps think outside the box and allows the opportunity to learn from others’ knowledge.

What is a normal day in your role like?

I start each day by receiving a handover from my fellow Supervisor on priorities of the day and any issues that will impact our targets set out. I then hold a meeting with my teams from five departments and communicate this information to them and resolve any queries they may have.

Daily meetings usually take place afterwards that highlight any impacting factors that may occur over the production process that could impede targets for the day/week being achieved. These meetings allow resolutions to be put into action quickly.

Then I make several tours around all departments to check on my team’s progress during the day and allow them to bring any issues to my attention where I can offer guidance on overcoming these.

I will then collate all the information I have to pinpoint each stage of production so I can give a detailed handover to the next Manager.

And what does your job title mean?

As Production Supervisor my job has varying responsibilities, foremost ensuring daily targets are achieved and that my team have the training/knowledge/resources to accomplish this.

I also ensure that processes are followed across all aspects of production as our devices can be part of automotive and medical products, therefore the highest quality has to be maintained as well as working safely.

I appraise my team regularly which allows them to develop as individuals and as a team through new targets being set and continuous improvement opportunities.

Can you suggest an activity that could be done at home that illustrates an aspect of your work?

One of the departments I oversee is Diffusion – where high temperature furnaces are used to transfer gases from a high concentration to a low concentration over silicon wafers that will eventually become microchip sensors.

In order to see how this diffusion process works you can carry out this simple activity. All you will need is:

· 2x tumblers that are suitable for containing hot water.

· Food colouring.

Take each of your tumblers and fill one with cold water and one with hot water. Then take your food colouring and put one large drop in each of the tumblers.

You will see the food colouring in the cold-water tumbler will stay highly concentrated, taking a longer amount of time to disperse. Whereas the food colouring in the hot water tumbler does so more quickly and evenly, making it less concentrated.


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