MINI Plant Oxford female engineers named among top-100 British women in global car industry

Two female engineers from MINI Plant Oxford have secured national recognition after they landed a top industry award from leading automotive magazine Autocar.

Philippa Napier and Rachel Neary have been named in the ‘Rising Stars’ category of the ‘Great British Women in the Car Industry’ initiative, which is run by Autocar in partnership with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The awards identify the top 100 British women working in the automotive sector as part of a push to celebrate the role of women in the industry and to address the challenges they face. The ‘Rising Stars’ category recognises a group of 10 young females who are ‘making their mark on the industry and blazing a trail for more to follow.’

Philippa, 22, from Thame in Oxfordshire, is a final-year engineering technician apprentice at MINI Plant Oxford. She has had a passion for cars since a young age and achieved her ambition to enter the automotive profession following a stint of work experience at the plant.

This led on to her winning a place on the company’s apprenticeship scheme, which has included taking a foundation degree in electrical and electronic engineering. Following her graduation Philippa will start her manufacturing career as a quality parts manager, which will see her supporting all quality related functions throughout the product’s lifecycle on the plant.

Philippa said: “It’s really rewarding to be recognised in this way and so I’m delighted to have made the list. Initiatives like this are so important in raising awareness of female achievement in our industry and getting more of us to consider a career in engineering.”

Rachel Neary, 25, from Liverpool, joined the plant as part of the BMW Group’s graduate scheme back in 2013 after securing a first class Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Liverpool.

She has already held roles at the Research and Innovation Centre in Munich and at Werk Leipzig, one of the BMW Group’s most progressive plants and home of electric BMW i car production.

In Oxford, Rachel is now part of MINI’s production steering team, which manages the transformation of sheet metal to painted body.

Rachel said: “I’m really excited and proud to be named in the Autocar Rising Stars list - it is a brilliant motivator to be recognised in such a way at the start of my career. It’s always been my ambition to be involved in the automotive industry and I’ve long been fascinated with cars, how they work and how they’re made.”

Frank Bachmann, MINI Plant Oxford Managing Director, said: “Everyone on the plant is really proud of what Rachel and Philippa have achieved. I believe they both have very bright futures ahead of them and that their stories can play a part in encouraging more young women into automotive manufacturing careers.”