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Emma Scapin from Wodonga (taken 2018)

A trusted team leader and passionate mental health advocate.

Originally from Wollongong, on the east coast of Australia, Emma joined the team at Bradken’s foundry in Wodonga, Australia in 2017 as a Graduate Metallurgist fresh out of university with a double degree in Materials and Chemical Engineering. She took the leap and headed to a brand-new city for the job, leaving the comfort of family and friends behind to “start from scratch”.

In taking on this challenge she knew she’d have to put herself out there, something she describes as being terrifying at the time. But she embraced the opportunity to meet new people and create connections by joining local sports teams and the site’s social club. Seven years later, and now the foundry’s Beforecast Supervisor, she’s built a rewarding career for herself and a life in Wodonga with her soon-to-be husband and their two Fox Terriers, Harvey and Sadie.
One of the first things you notice about Emma is her down-to-earth nature. Whether having a casual conversation or discussing more serious matters, she has a remarkable ability to make you feel at ease in her presence.
She describes herself as an easy-going person who enjoys the simple things in life: “I love playing netball, swimming, socialising and shopping. I love traveling, but I’m also content just being at home and watching a good movie. And lists, I love a good list. There’s nothing like the satisfaction you get crossing something off!”
As Beforecast Supervisor Emma’s responsibilities centre around overseeing the teams that work on the initial stages of the foundry process - the creation of cores that are then placed into moulds, the moulding process, followed by pouring molten metal into these moulds. While she confesses that she doesn’t possess expertise in operating all the specific machinery involved in those critical tasks, her role is more about ensuring smooth and safe operations.
Asked what her favourite thing about her job is, she says she likes that it's not a typical nine-to-five desk job. “I’m able to be out interacting with people and making sure things are running properly. Sure, you've got to do the paperwork side of things, but I can’t sit at a desk for too long, I much prefer being out on the floor helping people solve problems and make quality products for our customers, while making sure everyone's working safely and enjoying their work as well.
“I really enjoy the people management side of things too. I feel like I'm a people person in general and can create genuine conversation and get people talking and working together, but at the same time I’m comfortable using my authority to say, ‘I'm the Supervisor, this is my call’. Learning to be a good leader has been quite challenging, but the constant support and encouragement of the team has helped me get to where I am now and it’s something I’ll continue to work on.”
Emma Scapin from Wodonga (2023)

Conversation Starter

In addition to her operational role, Emma has also taken on the voluntary position of Mental Health First Aider for the Wodonga site. She’s one of six employees there to have been trained to spot the signs of mental ill-health in individuals through listening and observing behaviour, and to provide support through conversation and guidance to available resources.

“I'm an empathetic person and can often tell by watching people’s movements, their emotions and how they're talking whether they might need someone to listen. It doesn’t have to be anything major - I’ve spoken to a few people about different things they’ve had going on and sometimes they just need to sit and chat just to let out their feelings. A lot of people still don’t like to open up, and that’s fine, we just make sure they know we’re there to lend an ear if they need one or point them in the right direction if they need more support.”


…don’t be turned off by the idea that only men can work in a foundry environment. That’s not how it is – new systems, processes and equipment are levelling the playing field, so if it’s what you want, go for it.

- Emma Scapin
In reflecting on her career so far, Emma says “I've been so lucky with everything that I've been able to do in my time at Bradken.” Even from her very first day at the University of Wollongong, Bradken has presented Emma with opportunities to further her professional journey.
She applied for and was accepted into a company-funded scholarship program which over the course of her studies allowed her to travel to different Bradken sites around Australia during the summer breaks for work placements. She came out of this experience with the offer of a graduate position.
When asked what she considered to be her most significant opportunity, without hesitation Emma shared the story of her move from Graduate Metallurgist to Quality Supervisor in 2019 and the experience she had working with the retiring quality supervisor for several months before assuming the role herself.
“I got to work one-on-one with Brian for six months which was so great because he had 40 years’ experience and you just can’t learn that from someone in a week. There was so much he knew that I didn’t want to be lost so I soaked up everything he said, I wrote it down, I made furious notes, documented as much as I could from his brain to be able to use and share with the site once he’d left. It was hands down the best experience I’ve had.”
Looking forward, Emma says she’s excited to be contributing to a specially formed project team of 24 highly engaged employees from around the globe tasked with developing a Culture Roadmap for Bradken to help achieve the company’s strategic goals. She hopes to influence this work through her experience with mental health support.
Emma Scapin from Wodonga (2013)

Follow your passion

Emma’s advice to anyone hoping to start their career in a graduate role as she did is to be hungry for opportunity, ask lots of questions and use your initiative. “If a machine is broken, it’s the people that go grab a broom and start cleaning or look to the next task rather than standing around waiting for instructions that people want in their team.”

And for young women she says simply to follow your passion. “I was the only female on the shopfloor when I started and I’m five foot tall so yes, it was a challenge at first but it was what I wanted to do. Just don’t be turned off by the idea that only men can work in a foundry environment. That’s not how it is – new systems, processes and equipment are levelling the playing field, so if it’s what you want, go for it.”


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