Making things – It’s in the blood for Sam
“Why engineering?” For Sam Burman it was a combination of things including family tradition and the need to fund her motorcycle racing career. It was the latter that brought her into contact with WNT who have supported her racing endeavours for the past seven years. Now, while continuing to work for British Steel at its enormous Scunthorpe making plant as a machinist and pursue her racing career, Sam is also embarking on a quest to enthuse others to follow in her footsteps, as engineers that is. A recent presentation to students at Kendal College of Further Education gave students an insight into her career so far.
Combining her love of engineering and racing Sam is visiting schools and colleges to talk to students about her life making things on a grand scale, working on a variety of machine tools and her motorcycle racing, and how the two combine. Her enthusiasm for both is infectious and in her presentation she talks about the challenges she’s faced and how her machining skills and support from WNT and her employer have enabled her to develop her racing motorcycle through innovative engineering and linking this to day-to-day issues in engineering, citing the ability to problem solve as a key attribute. In addition to Sam’s motorcycling activities she also highlighted how WNT’s support for her racing was successfully transferred to a Ladies cycling team, which I snow competing at the highest levels in the sport. Again, this was a collaboration between WNT and its customers including Rotor and Hope Technology who have engineered many of the incredible components on the race bikes.
“Sam talked about her job as a machine engineer with British Steel Scunthorpe, about the site and about her present job stress testing rail samples. This was particularly relevant to level 3 BTEC students who are presently doing tensile testing as part of their course. It was also fascinating to get an insight into her life, inspirations, aspirations and her love of motorcycle racing. She told us about the technical details of her race bike, the modifications and the maintenance requirements to remain at a competitive level. We all appreciated Sam giving up her time and travelling across the country to share her life experience and help inspire our students,” Chris Lavender, Engineering Technician, Kendal College of Further Education. This was Sam’s third appearance at Kendal College and her presentation was seen by almost 70 Level 2, 3 BTEC and HNC engineering students, who were enthusiastic about Sam’s experiences with Emily Campbell, an apprentice with the local engineering company Gilkes saying: “It was great to see an engineer that was a woman talking about something she feels so passionate about and with such commitment.” A viewed shared by all in attendance.
This event is a result of the close working relationship between WNT and Sam that has developed over the years, with Sam attending many corporate/customer events on behalf of the Sheffield-based cutting tool specialist. All the students were encouraged to take the opportunity to attend the MACH exhibition and visit the WNT stand to gain further insight into the technology that is available. In conclusion, Sam says: “It was a great experience for me today visiting the college and speaking to the students, I see this as a fantastic opportunity, with the support of WNT, to tell my story and give an appreciation of working life in a large steel plant for a major employer. I am extremely passionate about my motorcycle racing, which made an apprenticeship a sensible option as I could earn while I learned. I have had great support over the years from WNT and we continue to innovate to deliver value for all involved such as these talks. I hope that my passion and enthusiasm can transfer to some of these apprentices, and it was great to see a number of women among the students and I hope they go onto succeed in their engineering careers.”