A Day in the Life…Claire McGuinness

We spoke to Claire McGuinness, Technical Support Manager for Koura about her experience of being a woman in STEM.

What is your job title?

Technical Support Manager at Koura

How long have you been in the role for?

2 years

How long have you been in this industry?

28 years

What made you get into this industry?

I loved science at school and wanted a job that was hands on as well as intellectually challenging.

Where are you based?

I work in the research and development department of Koura, based in Runcorn

What products do you work with?

Propellants

Who are your customers?

Pharmaceutical companies

From start to finish, what is a regular workday like for you?

There is no such thing as a regular workday in research. I answer customer enquiries, problem solving, plan experimental programmes for the team, and ensure the experiments and products are complying with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Interacting with people and problem solving

Have you seen a change in the amount of women working within the industry?

Yes, when I started in the early 90s there was a ratio of about 2:1 male:female but now it seems much more equal. However, there are still very few female process operators and engineers, so there are some areas which are still predominantly male.

Why do you think women don’t go into STEM roles?

I believe there is a lack of encouragement and positive role models within the industry, and many young girls are being influenced by what they see on social media and TV, which isn’t always a very wide variety.

How has your job changed since you started?

I started as a sponsored student (Apprentice). I worked in three different areas whilst studying for my degree part time including a Quality Control laboratory on plant, research and a semi-technical plant.

Then I worked in the development of a CFC free medical propellant, 134a. When this was launched as a product I moved to research into refrigeration, looking at improving energy efficiency and reducing global warming potential.

I worked in process chemistry researching production of low global warming potential refrigerants and propellants and I have now come full circle, working on medical propellants to introduce a low global warming potential propellant to the industry.