With 2017 surveys indicating that just 11% of the engineering workforce is female, according to the Women’s Engineering Society (WNS), the UK has the lowest percentage of female engineering professionals in Europe.
One company beating these statistics is engine reconditioner Foxwood Diesel. With two female engineers on its workshop team, it means nearly 15% of its engineers are female.
And with research proving that gender diversity directly correlates to business success, coupled with the company’s decades of experience, Foxwood Diesel is the solution to all your coach and bus engine needs.
Based in Chesterfield, Foxwood Diesel is a leading UK builder and repairer of commercial diesel engines.
It has been a key supplier to the coach and bus industry since 1988, set up by Ken Worsdale and a business partner who has since retired.
Says Ken: “We started off on Foxwood Road in Sheepbridge, which is where we got our name from. We were there for about six years, and we then moved from that 3,000 sq. ft. site to our 5,000 sq. ft. premises in Old Whittington where we have been ever since.”
The original focus of the company was to service the municipal and national bus companies, providing items such as cylinder heads, blocks and crankshafts, alongside serving many local machining companies.
In 2003, the company – formerly known as Foxwood Boring and Grinding – changed its name in order to reflect its target market after deciding to expand its services by building complete diesel engines for the coach, bus, construction, truck and plant industries.
But its main focus is predominately the coach and bus market, says Ken.
“We build complete engines for Cummins, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and MAN – any engine that’s in a bus or coach really,” says Ken. “We also distribute new and reconditioned parts, including genuine Cummins parts, for most bus engines.”
Foxwood Diesel also holds large quantities of spares and parts such as cylinder heads, pistons and gaskets, “so people can repair their own if they want to,” adds Ken.
Its extensive range is available via its online shop on the company’s website, with many available for same-day dispatch.
Ken maintains that what sets Foxwood Diesel apart from other engine reconditioners is that a lot of the work is done in-house.
“We’ve got our own machine shop where we do most of the work in-house, whereas a lot of businesses that build engines send it out,” he says.
“We do a lot for other engine reconditioners as well and we supply our machine services to other engine builders.”
Furthermore, the company’s team has more than 70 combined years’ experience within the industry, reconditioning all makes of truck and PSV engines. Its work is also backed by a one-year warranty.
“Thanks to our continuous investment in extensive workshop facilities and staff training, our clients can rely on us to minimise their down-time,” says Ken.
A first-rate team
Foxwood Diesel has 10 employees – two of which are Ken’s daughters, 20-year-old Nikki and 19-year-old Leigh.
“Nikki started working for the business last year and has taken over the accounts side of things,” says Ken.
“Leigh joined in 2016 as an apprentice engineer, which she has now completed and is onto her Higher National Certificate.”
Leigh combines her work with training at the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
Last year she became AMRC’s first female Apprentice of the Year. The award, sponsored by Boeing, meant she was able to enjoy a tour of the aerospace giant’s sites in Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle – learning more about the manufacturer.
Leigh has also been awarded Chesterfield’s Apprentice of the Year in the North Midlands and South Yorkshire Apprentice Awards and Highly Commended Advanced Apprentice of the Year for the East Midlands in the National Apprenticeship Awards.
“Even though she’s finished her apprenticeship they still want to keep her as an ambassador for women in engineering,” says Ken.
Working with the Young Apprentice Ambassadors Network, Leigh is a figurehead for engineering apprenticeships in the Yorkshire region and shares her passion for engineering with young students.
Casey Allen is Foxwood Diesel’s other female engineer.
Says Ken: “Casey began working here when she was 15 years old as part of her school work experience. We didn’t think she would actually like it, but she’s still here now.”
After the two-week work experience, she worked for the company during her six weeks’ school holidays before being hired as an apprentice when she completed her GCSEs in 2015.
Says Ken: “We hire the best at Foxwood Diesel, regardless of gender. It is about having passion, aptitude and talent which Leigh and Casey have by the bucket load.
“We’re a team and support and respect each other which means we deliver the best service to our customers.”