Innovation and collaboration are the secrets to our success, say Midlands women in engineering

News article

While the majority of engineers worldwide are men, today is about celebrating the growing number of bold and brilliant females working in the industry, and VRS Solutions Group proudly employs some of the best. To mark International Women in Engineering Day, we spoke to some of these inspirational ladies, based across the East and West Midlands, about what they love most about working in the field. VRS Solutions Group consists of Hardstaff Barriers, Asset VRS, Hill and Smith Barriers and Varley and Gulliver – four of the UK’s leading vehicle restraint system manufacturers.


Alice Higginson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Hill & Smith Barriers – West Midlands 

Years in the industry: Seven

Best thing about the industry: The people! Being able to work alongside groups of brilliant people who have a shared passion for safety; that is what I love most about this industry.

Alice says: “Innovation is about making continuous improvements to ensure all our customers and stakeholders feel valued. This comes by adapting when faced with a challenge, by communicating transparently and by working with integrity.

Innovation to me is about identifying what is good, but finding out how we can make it better. There are no limits!”


Sarah Compton, Highways Account Manager, Hardstaff Barriers – East Midlands

Years in the industry: 14

Best thing about the industry: Being part of an ever-evolving industry and seeing how our products save lives.

Sarah says: “The company sees the potential in both product and people, and I have been given the opportunity, on more than one occasion, to share my ideas and experience to support innovation within both the business and my role.”


Kathryn Cooper, Head of Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), VRS Solutions Group – Midlands-wide

Years in the industry: 17

Best thing about the industry: Across the industry, businesses are always looking to innovate and are happy to share knowledge and collaborate.

Kathrryn says: “Innovation and collaboration are key to my role. The two go hand in hand to help harness the potential of effective corporate social responsibility, to leverage business reputation and performance, whilst delivering wider societal benefits.”


Vicky Coetzee, Assistant Quantity Surveyor, Varley and Gulliver – West Midlands

Years in the industry: Four

Best thing about the industry: Relaxed, technical and professional

Vicky says: “Innovation is so important. Thanks to the innovations that we have made, our work has been streamlined and is easier.”

Alice Higginson, Sales and Marketing Manager, Hill & Smith Barriers - West Midlands