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EMR encourages more women into the metal recycling industry

7 March 2019

When you think of metal recycling, you may have in mind an industry that is male-dominated. One of the world’s leading metal recyclers is keen to change that.

EMR can recycle everything from a toaster to an aircraft carrier, and has over 170 facilities worldwide, employing over 4000 people in roles ranging from Site Managers and Plant Machine Operators to HGV drivers and IT professionals .

To celebrate this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March, EMR are calling for more women to join the metal recycling industry.

Karen Fox, who started with EMR in 1989 and progressed to Transport Manager, said: “The industry has always been male dominated but EMR are working hard to bring more women into the business.

“Working with EMR is really exciting as you are offered new opportunities that you wouldn’t get in other industries. After hitting one of those horrid ages starting with a five, I passed my Certificate in Professional Competence in Road Haulage!”

Louise Burns, Area Depot Co-ordinator in Liverpool, explained her usual day: “The first thing I usually do when I get to work is make a coffee! There is no set plan to my day, as each day is different and has its own set of challenges.

“Before joining EMR I was a HGV driver and I found being a woman in the metal recycling industry challenging to say the least! Sometimes you’d feel like you’re singled out because you are a woman in a man’s world, but it’s not like that here. The only challenges I’ve faced are to do with the job, not because I am a woman. I am always fully supported.”

Head of HR, UK, Angela Jones, who joined EMR 13 years ago, feels passionate about women in business and International Women’s Day: “It’s so important that we continue to support IWD given all the suffering in the past that women endured. The message that stuck with me [about the Suffragettes] was the fact that women were campaigning to become equal to men, not superior.

“I’ve never felt the need to betray who I am or act in a more masculine way to have my voice heard. Sometimes I can be at a meeting where I am the only female present. I don’t find this daunting, more that I would prefer more equal representation. Saying that, it’s got to be appropriate representation. It would do women no favours if we were simply token gestures to meet gender criteria rather than appointed on our own merits.”

This sentiment is something that EMR encourages. Andrew Brady, EMR’s UK Chief Executive Officer, said: “We treat everyone equally, no matter their background. All employees, male or female, are given the same opportunities to develop their careers, whether that be as a Fitter, Buyer, Yard Operative, Weighbridge Operator or any role within the business.

“We want to break the stereotypes and encourage more women to join EMR. There are different routes for career development, from apprenticeships to management and we like to encourage those from outside our industry to join us.”

Karen Fox concludes: “With EMR, I have the opportunity to progress. I never feel stuck where I am. If I show I am worth investing in, EMR will do just that – you never feel like you have no options for progression.”

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