Women Of Steel – Sue Martin from Tata Steel

Wednesday October 4th, 2017 | Yasmine Bachraoui | Expertise

To highlight the experience in the industry with a special focus on women, Steel Available has conducted several interviews with successful Women working in the heavy industry worldwide. In order to know more about their experiences, challenges and success story, take a moment and read the interview below.


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Sue Martin is Program Design and Delivery Trainer at Tata Steel Strip UK. Tata Steel is among the top ten global Steel companies with a crude steel production capacity of nearly 30 million tonnes per year.Tata Steel UK is one of Europe’s leading strip steel manufacturers with steelmaking facilities located at both Port Talbot, Wales and Rotherham, South Yorkshire, as well as steel rolling and processing facilities in the Midlands, the North East and Wales.

Tell us more about yourself: your current position and responsibilities at Tata Steel.

Hello, I’m Sue Martin. For the past 14 years, I have worked for Tata Steel in Wales, UK as a Program Design and Delivery Trainer.

At Tata, I am very passionate about the training I deliver. 99% of the time, I design the training to fit the training requirement. At present, I’m involved with a UK Team Leader program, Coaching training for our Talent team and others. Last year I focused a lot on mindset training. This covered the way people gave feedback or influenced people, communicated to others and the way we conducted meetings more effectively, I love that one.

What did you do before you start working with Tata Steel?

I was a Regional training manager for AAH pharmaceuticals. Setting up induction training for the business and designing and delivering training to the management. Prior to that I delivered all levels of training at BT. I carried out that role for 14 years.  

Why did you want to pursue a career in this industry?

I moved to Wales in 2002 from England while I was working for AAH. I was faced with redundancy and started to look in Wales to start a new career. Tata was known as Corus back then and they offered me a HR Generalist role initially because they were keen for me to introduce Absence Management and Disciplinary training to the line managers. Within no time at all, I was involved in so much more delivery of training that a role was created so I could solely concentrate on the development of managers. Corus was originally known as British Steel and has had over 100 years experience in steel making.

Where did you get your inspiration and motivation from?

I think with designing and delivering, it’s a little like the marmite you can eat. You either love it or hate it. I am absolutely in love with the element of designing and delivering. I relish in the thought of developing others, to have that feeling of accomplishment when people leave the program so much more knowledgeable or competent from where they started.

Through this role, I attended many seminars about having a positive mindset and then I was hooked on ‘Law of Attraction’. Simply put, the Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is the Law of Attraction which uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize them into reality. I’ve been studying this very closely for 18 months. So many elements of this can actually link in with the current training I offer at Tata. Practices also include meditation, intention statements and visualisation. It turned my life around. I enjoy life so much now.

What part of your job do you personally find most interesting?

I see myself as a people person. The delegates who attend my sessions are more like members of my team who I really like to bond with. Although keeping it professional is a key component, it’s the building the rapport and trust so they open up and you really get to see what makes them tick so to speak.

How do you combine your job with your personal life ?

The LOA also talks about your belief system and this can have a big effect on how effective you can be as a leader. Both at home and at work, I am very organised.

We introduced 5S into Tata and I’ve definitely took that back into my home. 5S is the name of a workplace organization method that uses a list of five Japanese words: seiri, seiton, seiso, seiketsu, and shitsuke. Translated..the 5 Steps are as follows:

Sort: Sort out & separate that which is needed & not needed in the area.

Straighten: Arrange items that are needed so that they are ready & easy to use. Clearly identify locations for all items so that anyone can find them & return them once the task is completed.

Shine: Clean the workplace & equipment on a regular basis in order to maintain standards & identify defects.

Standardise: Revisit the first three of the 5S on a frequent basis

Sustain: Keep to the rules to maintain the standard & continue to improve every day

Do you want to share with us three events that helped to shape your life?

Having 3 children shaped my life. My son is 27, my daughters are 25 and 9. The eldest two have places of their own now and I’m so proud of them all. I’ve always worked throughout motherhood and that means being smart with your time.

What’s the typical day like for you and how do you make it productive?

I’m an early bird. I’m generally up by 5:30am in the week. I like to start the day with a quick workout, either high impact stuff or 20 minutes of yoga. I train time management so it’s almost, practice what you preach! Ha! I am a ‘list’ person. I’m very structured but have been known to be rather spontaneous at times. There are a couple of work colleagues I’ll use as my sounding board who I can reply on to give me honest feedback.I have hobbies of reading, running, yoga, swimming and just recently started up understanding about meditation. So it’s all energy building for both mind and body.

What are the challenges that you face in your business or outside and how do you overcome them?

The challenges are classed as opportunities in my world and having a positive attitude has a huge impact. Building working relationships so we can be more honest with each other is also key and the general skills of effective communication plays a big part too. What’s great about being a trainer is that you get to develop so much awareness and so many skills at the same time.

Do you have any advice for our readers and especially women and girls who want to pursue a similar career ?

I’d say go with your desires, believe in yourself, build a community of people around you who are positive, don’t give up and dream big!

This is the last question, do you have a favorite book that you think is important to read before starting a career?

Any book which makes you feel brimming with positivity I’d say. I’ve just completed ‘The Missing Secret’ by Joe Vitale. I’m a little addicted to audio books. I listen to them in my car constantly. Generally all my books are psychology based.

When it comes to developing their companies, Women are still minorities. However, in the heavy industry some innovative, agile and pragmatic pioneers are starting to shake the rules of the game. 

If you want to be interviewed as a Woman of Steel, let us know at .


Interviewed by:  



Yasmine Bachraoui

Business Developer @Steel Available