Last updated: 01.03.22

Celebrating Women's Success on International Women's Day

Sue Outhwaite, Head of Service Implementation, Seetec Outsource

How did you start your career?

I started my career at NatWest Bank, then moved sectors completely into Aviation. I worked in a variety of roles such as Cabin Crew with British Airways and Ground Operations with BMI before moving into education. I became an Aviation lecturer at Newcastle College and then alongside that, I worked as an external verifier for a number of Awarding Bodies. From there, I joined City & Guilds working in a variety of apprenticeship and skills solutions business development roles. When I left City & Guilds, I set up my own apprenticeships and skills consultancy business working with NCFE and their end point assessment division and the University of Sunderland. I was approached by a recruitment company to have a chat with Seetec Outsource and luckily I did. I started as the Sector Lead for Aviation, Transport & Logistics, then moved to Sector Skills Business Manager for Digital, Media, Professional Services & Aviation. I started my new role of Head of Service Implementation in January 2022.

Who is your role model?

I come from a family of strong women so I would say (as corny as it sounds), my mam who worked her way up from the typing pool to become Head of Facilities Management and my aunt who started as receptionist in a hotel and became the General Manager of a group of hotels.

What would you say your biggest achievements are within your career to date?

Doing my first degree, BA Tourism (Distinction) in my 30's. I was never confident enough in my own abilities when I was younger and thought I wouldn't be able to study at that level. I then went on to gain a BA Hons Airline & Airport Management (1st Class), my assessor and internal and external quality assurance awards and a PGCE in Education. It just shows, you can do it!

Have you faced any challenges along the way?

Yes, I was a single parent of 2 young children whilst working at the college. It was hard work juggling the job and the workload whilst being there for my family. I relied heavily on my parents for support and worked part time which slowed down any career progression.

Have you faced any bias or discrimination during your career?

Yes, I was paid less than a male colleague in an identical role. I challenged this but my request for pay parity was declined.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I left the organisation and never looked back.

What advice would you give to women starting their career in 2022?

Have an idea of where you want to be, but be flexible about how you get there. Stay true to yourself, don't compare yourself to others, be solution orientated, always treat others with kindness and respect. It's a small world and your paths will cross in the future.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Have more confidence in your own abilities. If it makes you feel uncomfortable but excited, then go for it. What's the worst that could happen?

Fun fact!

When I was working at Edinburgh airport, I was once led a group of passengers down the wrong airbridge and there was no aircraft at the end. I had to turn them all around and take them back to the terminal until I could find the right door!