In our Bright Lights series, we showcase some of our brilliant employees and their experience of working here at STG Aerospace. This time, Jyotika Patel, talks about her atypical career route into STG’s production team and her new-found interest in all things aerospace, as well her commitment to keeping others fit and healthy outside of work.
To kick off the year, in January 2023 Jyotika, who goes by Jo, joined the production team at STG as a Production Operative – a date she always remembers as it was her son’s birthday! Jo followed an unconventional route to the role she is in today, which helped her gain a lot of professional experience. For twenty years, she ran a family business with her husband, a shop in the South Wales valleys.
“I loved running my own business and it taught me a lot of valuable lessons. One thing it really taught me was what an employer needs from their staff, so when I have worked for other businesses since then, I know what’s needed to give my best and be a good employee.
When Covid hit, Jo was forced to close the family business. Heartbreaking as that was, Jo, was excited to search for a a new adventure.
The role that followed was at the Ministry of Defence, where she worked on the production team and built ammunition. Although interesting, the lack of job security and ad hoc nature of the job prompted her to start searching for a new opportunity and after speaking to an employment agency, she stumbled upon STG.
“I wanted a challenge and STG’s products are totally different to anything I had worked with before. I didn’t know much about aerospace either but was intrigued and keen to learn more.
A normal day at STG can vary significantly for Jo, depending on the volume of orders that day:
“We have overarching goals and targets to meet each week and are held accountable by dispatch dates to ensure the product gets to the customer on time. We usually log onto the system first thing, split into teams of two and work through our list of products. Teamwork is absolutely key, as one person will assemble the product whilst the other glues and packs up – we switch the roles up to keep it interesting.
“Assembling the kits was daunting when I first started as it is intricate and you know it has to be absolutely perfect, otherwise it can’t be sent. Obvious quality of these safety products is essential. Overtime it has become second nature now and I’m a lot faster now! Something I really like is the fact that nothing is ever wasted - if there is a hiccup in the process, we are taught how to correct it, which means we don’t throw materials out, we repair and reuse.
It's an exciting time for the production team as they approach an upcoming site layout change. This will enable all production teams to be in the same area and create greater synergy within the department.
“It will be great to have everyone working together in one room rather than being on separate floors, as it will encourage collaboration in our work.
“The goal is to train one another in the various areas of production so we all have a greater knowledge of the entire operation. I love to keep learning and developing, so I am excited to learn about the electrical and print specialisms. It will also make us better appreciate the work our colleagues are doing alongside us.”
Jo enjoys the friendly atmosphere at STG and in a role where teamwork is crucial, she is grateful to have a light-hearted group of people to work with each day.
Outside of work, to unwind from the day and stay fit and healthy, Jo is a qualified Zumba teacher and runs classes every week.
“I have done Zumba classes for years. It all started when my friend and I went to a private dance class – I loved everything about it and wanted to do more so I decided to qualify as a Zumba teacher. I run children’s and adult classes and I’ve just started a new strength class too – it’s usually about four or five evenings a week after work, but it depends how tired I am!
“I did a lot of virtual classes throughout lockdown to keep the morale up. I had my neighbours out on the street doing Zumba, keeping fit, and we did an NHS charity class on the street to raise money, which was brilliant. Sometimes those few hours you are dancing, you forget about any stresses in your life and it’s a way to recharge.
“I get away quite a lot with Zumba too for training academies. I’m off to Málaga next, and I recently spent a weekend with fellow instructors from all over the world, it’s really great to meet new people and learn from them.
“My aim is to get the STG team doing a Zumba class!”
Jo will be boarding her flight to Cyprus for a family wedding next month as a newly self-proclaimed aerospace geek, and is excited that she will be able to analyse the aircraft and show her family exactly what she gets up to at work.