Meet Ella

Materials Engineer

Ella Podmore left Headington in 2014 after studying Chemistry, Physics, ICT and Maths at A Level. Ella was very involved in many aspects of school life, and being a flexi-boarder enabled her to take part in many activities and clubs including netball, hockey, tennis and athletics, as well as being a member of the jazz club and school orchestra. Ella believes that one of the greatest life lessons she took away from school was learning how to balance her academic and extracurricular activities and the importance of hobbies in helping her to maintain a healthy work life balance. In the Sixth Form, Ella became the Head of Sport prefect which taught her how to be a team player and the importance of deadlines.

If I was giving advice to young women, I would say do not be afraid to fail.

After Headington, Ella went on to study a Masters of Materials Engineering at the University of Manchester, which included a placement year spent in industry at McLaren Automotive, a luxury supercar brand, giving her valuable business experience. After graduating from Manchester, Ella was hired by McLaren as their Materials Engineer in 2018. She has become a passionate STEM (Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics) ambassador and now frequently tours the world giving speeches to aspiring STEM students on the opportunities available in science. In 2020 Ella was the winner of the Young Woman Engineer of the Year award by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) which celebrates women working in modern engineering to challenge negative perceptions and encourage greater diversity in the profession.

“Of all the skills I learnt at school, time management was a crucial one. There will always be times where you have to balance things going on in your personal life as well as important work duties. If you can learn how to effectively prioritise you will be able to become a productive worker and achieve a lot. The best way to practise this is at school! Throw yourself into everything you enjoy, learn from your experiences and go for it!”

“Growing up, my female inspirations were a wonderful combination of Karen Brady, Beyoncé and my Mum! If I was giving advice to young women, I would say do not be afraid to fail. During some times at school, it can seem like you are carrying the world on your shoulders, especially from the pressure of exams. But what helps you to grow as an individual is how you pick yourself up from these failures; What do you do next? What did you learn? How did you improve from this experience? In the sector of business I am in, we encourage people to fail fast and learn quicker. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.”