Womens Engineering Society: Inspiring women as engineers, scientists and technical leaders

Danella Bagnall

Danella Bagnall

I always admired people who knew precisely what they wanted to pursue career wise. I had no idea - I was good at maths, music & science and was keen on doing a degree but beyond that I didn't know! The careers advice I received was to use my maths and go into banking.... and although I wasn't sure what I wanted to do - banking did not appeal.

Danella Bagnall

My mother worked at Rolls Royce and my father at Jaguar Cars and they mentioned technical apprenticeships - I researched these and found that I could learn new skills, continue my education and get paid - I applied at 3 companys and was successful in all 3 applications - I joined Land Rover because if I received good A level equivalent ONC results, they would sponsor me through an engineering degree. Even then I probably didn't realise the diversity of engineering but I happily embarked on my training. I do remember a "eureka" moment where I saw the cars being assembles on a production line with the main body on the track and the car doors in a conveyor in the roof - as I watched the correct set of doors meet up with the correct car on the track I described it as mechanical poetry in motion and I was hooked!

I was sponsored through a full time combined engineering degree with a mechanical bias and after graduation I returned to start my proper job. I started engineering a small part of a seat frame, which then led to my next assignment of owning a complete seat assembly in another car, which then led to owning 3 rows of seat assemblies in another. I have increased my component and system ownership and also my leadership responsibility in every assignment I have taken. I led the interior of the recent Jaguar XJ and my most recent assignment was to lead the Body Engineering team delivering the all New Range Rover. At its peak the team was over 200 engineers in size - and our job was to make the design concept a reality. I am incredibly proud of what the team and I have achieved in delivering this fantastic car.

I truly believe that there are limitless opportunities in a company like Jaguar Land Rover - if you are prepared to work hard and take on new challenges then a career in engineering can provide a lively and diverse and incredibly interesting job.
I'm often asked to give advice to young engineers starting in the industry and these are my top 3 pieces of advise:-

  1. Whatever you do - be really good at it! Ooze competence. Don't chase promotions - be good at what you do and cream will rise to the top.
  2. It's really important to have great people skills - people make things happen! You need to connect to people and be a really good listener!
  3. Be interested in your business, company news / financial results, competitor news - keep connected to what is going on.

Danella Bagnall
Programme Planning & Integration Director
Global Business Expansion

Our supporters