Engineer Profile: Nikki Gillatt

Engineer Profile: Nikki Gillatt

Case Studies Engineer Profile: Nikki Gillatt


What do you do at the MTC?

I am an Advanced Research Engineer in the Special Purpose machines department. My projects vary from constructions projects to Aerospace.

I use my LEAN, Six Sigma experience and idea generation skills to improve productivity and efficiency of production lines using new/ the latest technology and the use of smart tools, robotics and automation.

What path did you take to get here?

Maths and science A levels, securing a deferred University place in Mechanical & Automotive Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University.

I took a gap year where I worked as much as I could to develop my CV. I worked as a mechanic at a garage servicing, carrying out MOTs and repairing vehicles, did a short stint at Red Bull F1 and a season with the Mazda championship. I also reached out to companies, and this is when I came across Caterpillar. I was supported by them through University, working in my holidays and completing my placement year. I subsequently joined Caterpillar on their Graduate scheme. With a new interest in R&D, robotics and automation I applied to the MTC.

Which engineering innovations excite you the most?

Seeing ideas, visions and designs come to life, becoming reality. This is a satisfying feeling. Also improving systems and procedures, with the use of robotics and automation.

I specifically have an interest in manufacturing and production lines, using LEAN, six sigma Tools and Techniques.


Why is the Tilly Shilling Initiative important?

I never understood what people meant or why everyone kept telling me that Engineering wasn’t popular for women. On my first day at Uni I saw this when I entered a lecture hall of future Engineers and saw that I was only 1 woman out of 3 in a hall of 300 students. I then discovered I was the only woman on my course, I had thought that at least there would be one other girl like me!

This was never a problem however going to work in industry at CAT, it woke me up to the fact that Women’s skills are limited in this sector. I therefore want to promote and encourage women into this industry where there are so many opportunities. I thought “If Nikki can, then why can’t you”?

I was invited to set up Caterpillar Desford's first ever WIE society; “If Cat can, why can’t you” which came with many challenges. I started at my all-girls school where I was told I couldn’t. I am now proud to show, that I can. Anyone can. Any gender, any colour, any race, any belief.

MTC are also enthusiastic about women in engineering who I can relate to and stand proud with. The Tilling Shilling initiative is important to promote the pioneering spirit and present engineering science and maths opportunities of women engineers already in the sector, in schools, run workshops, and support national women’s day and WIE days.

What advice would you give to someone interested in a career in STEM?

Embrace what you are good at and don’t be put off by speculations or what people tell you. I believe in ‘Go, see, act’ aka go and find out for yourself! We are never trapped, so if you don’t like it then you can make a change. The good thing about STEM subjects is you can specialise in anything with them.

Who is your favourite engineer in history?

Einstein because he is well known and came up with things never done before yet he was dyslexic, just like me. This shows that having dyslexia should never hold you back and should only be embraced. It’s a positive thing and we are good at thinking ‘outside the box’ aka differently.

Related information

It has been a life changing experience to work with MTC since my graduation. The chance to work on leading projects with nice and intelligent colleagues in a modern R&D environment has been great. I don't regret joining!
Qinqin Zhang
Research Engineer - Net Shape Manufacturing