Dr Jane Atkinson
Director: Cape Specialist Services
Jane Atkinson studied Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University. She is currently a Director of Cape Specialist Services and has received many awards for her work. Here you can find out about her fantastic achievements and Jane also answers some questions about her time spent studying at Loughborough.
Jane began her career in 1990 with British Steel where she has managed all of the major production units including several plants in Alabama, USA. Jane then moved into power generation and became Senior Vice President at Sembcorp Utilities UK, managing coal and gas fired assets including the UK’s first Biomass Power Plant. In 2014 Jane joined Cape Industrial Services as the Operations Director for the North. She has recently been appointed Director of Cape Specialist Services with a remit to expand Cape’s engineering brands to the rest of the world.
Jane has won several awards; most notably the CBI First Woman Award in Manufacturing and the prestigious Stephenson’s Award for inspiring young people in science and engineering. She received an honorary doctorate in Business Administration from Teesside University in 2011, she has also received the freedom of the City of London and is a Liveryman for the Worshipful Company of Engineering. Jane is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and of the Institution of Chemical Engineers. She is chairman of the IChemE UK Board as well as Governor for Teesside University.
Why did you choose to study Chemical Engineering at Loughborough University?
Once I decided to study Chemical Engineering, I looked at what Universities were offering. Loughborough University was in the top three Universities in the UK for Chem Eng, so it was obvious that it had to be one of my choices. Two other things that persuaded me to choose Loughborough were the fact I could do a degree which had a management element to it (I did a BEng in Chemical Engineering and Management) and secondly I loved sport and the atmosphere and facilities were great. I never regretted it and loved my time there.
How did your time at Loughborough impact on your career?
Loughborough is recognised as a prestigious engineering university. So my degree was always accepted as high quality and I was always deemed technically competent. This allowed me to progress through my career as an Engineer with no challenge. When I applied for my Chartership and Fellowship of the Institution of Chemical Engineering, again I sailed through it. Having the backbone of a good degree makes life simple.
What advice would you give to students looking to get into engineering?
Engineering opens up job opportunities in every sector with every product you could imagine. You can be involved in operations, maintenance, design, purchasing, finance and human resources across all sorts of products and sectors. These sectors can include oil and gas, petrochemicals, food and drink, power generation, transport and consumables to name a few. Nearly everything that you interact with on a daily basis has been engineered by someone. Companies like engineers as they generally have a logical mind, they make great problem solvers and are good at maths. So if you want to keep your options open and get a highly paid job, engineering is the career for you. Personally I have travelled the world, met interesting people and have had a fabulous career as well as having a great salary. Who wouldn’t want to be an engineer?