06 Mar

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 at Steeper

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 at Steeper Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 at Steeper Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 at Steeper Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 at Steeper

Elle Knowles  

The UK's first qualified Apprentice Prosthetic Technician 

With four years of experience and a new Level 3 Prosthetic and Orthotic Technician apprenticeship certificate at Distinction level under her belt, Elle is creating positive turning points for patients every day, and she takes pride in doing so. She says, "I've always done hands-on work and I couldn't see myself doing anything else. When I saw the Prosthetic Technician apprenticeship advertised, I thought it was so different, I just had to give it a go!" 

The technician workforce may be heavily male-dominated, with Elle being the only female in her team of five currently, but her Naval background makes her no stranger to this kind of environment. She says, "We're only a small department but it's a very fun team to be a part of, I felt like I fit right in from the beginning. Knowing I'm building an arm or a leg to help someone in their everyday life is so rewarding, and it's an enjoyable job that I'd recommend to all women. We certainly need more women in the industry, and I do feel like this type of delicate, accurate and patient-focused work would be enjoyed by many." Elle was the first in the country to receive the qualification under the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education and we couldn't be more proud to have such an asset on the Steeper Prosthetic Technician Team. 

Rebecca Newark
Aspiring Team GB Paralympic Cyclist 

At 18 years old, Rebecca had her sights firmly set on a professional cricketing career, that was until running, walking, and even standing for any period of time became increasingly painful. Rebecca was born with talipes (commonly known as club foot) but after a successful corrective surgery and subsequent orthotic treatment, she had next to no issues with her foot and ankle growing up. Little did she know, her ankle was slowly deteriorating. The prospect of rerouting her entire life plan shook Rebecca, but sporting success has always been her destiny. With the help of her Biomechanic Specialist and Specialist Orthotist Kate Chauhan at Steeper Clinic, an exciting next chapter would begin. 

She recently joined the Paralympic Foundation Squad under coach Helen Scott MBE saying, "I'm so happy to be in her squad and learning from the best. She's an amazing, decorated Paralympian." With a spot on the Team GB development track now secured, Rebecca has a busy season ahead! The Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games are only a few more months away and Rebecca has big Paralympic dreams of her own. She says, "One of my goals is to progress into the World Class Performance Squad within the next couple of years. My ultimate dream is to be selected for Team GB's 2028 Paralympic team so I've got a lot of hard work to put in between now and then!" 

Read Rebecca's Story

Kate Chauhan
Steeper Orthotist, BAPO Orthotist of the Year 2023

With over 20 years of experience, Kate has consistently demonstrated her commitment to providing exceptional care to patients. Her list of achievements is extensive; she has earned certification as a Steeper Clinic AllSTAR Clinician from Orthomerica, has been commended for her presentations at BAPO conferences, and completed her Master of Science in clinical research methods, exemplifying her ability to evaluate research and incorporate evidence-based practices into her work.

BAPO, in presenting the award to Kate, emphasised her outstanding contributions to the field, stating, "Kate has excelled, setting an example to others, through being active in research; inspiring others to explore this area of practice, which is essential in demonstrating contemporary, evidence-based, cost-effective prosthetic and orthotic care. Kate has successfully developed her experience, engaging with several studies, including National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) randomised control trials." 

Read the full article

Elsie Hughes 

Local Para-Cycling Champion and Aspiring National Champion

At just 13 years old, Elsie is an avid lover of cycling, especially Cyclo-cross and her recent venture into Velodrome racing. To perfect her run, the past five years have been dedicated to trialling a range of new and custom-built setups with the support of her prosthetist, Steve Carter, to find what works best for Elsie and her upper limb difference. Now, her name is popular throughout the cycling industry with the para-cycling team inviting her to in-house development camps and, in just two years, she'll be ready to race adults at national para-cycling events. 

Elsie's own piece of advice for women and girls wanting to get into cyclo-cross and other competitive cycling sports is, "You don’t have to win it to enjoy it. You've just got to ride it." Something she'll be remembering herself as she faces new challenges rising up the ranks. 

Read Elsie's Story

Caroline Clark
Steeper Prosthetist, BAPO Prosthetist of the Year 2022

Bournemouth Branch Manager, Caroline Clark, was awarded the patient nominated BAPO Prosthetist of the Year award 2022. Nominated by long-time patient, Lisa, Caroline was recognised for her consistent commitment to the job, high level of skill, and the uniquely personal service she provides to all her patients. Lisa’s own prosthetic journey hasn’t always been a smooth one, but she notes Caroline’s involvement as pivotal saying, “I don’t know what I’d have done without her!”

Lisa has been a patient of Caroline’s for over 16 years and now considers her a friend and confidant. Lisa says, “It’s the little things Caroline does, something as simple as a hug makes a huge difference when I’m having a tough day. She has a very personal approach and I know it’s not just me, she works hard for all her patients.”

Read the full article

Julie Tasker
Product Development Project Manager 

Right from her early days in High School, Julie knew she wanted to do something fun for a living, it's no wonder engineering and research and development pique her interest! She says, "In college, there was only one other female on my mechanical engineering apprenticeship programme, and she didn't complete the full course, so it was just me for a lot of it. However, it wasn't until I went into my first job that I really noticed I was the only woman there, especially being only 17." But she wouldn't let it stop her from succeeding. 

After managing major projects in the oil and gas sector, Julie came to Steeper where she was instrumental in the launch of our flagship product, the Myo Kinisi hand. She says, "When you're working on these massive projects behind the scenes for so long, you can lose sight of the end user, but once it starts to come to life and people start using the device, the feedback you get puts it back into perspective, you get that 'I did that' feeling! - You realise that you’ve helped thousands of people to make the most out of their lives." Julie's advice to other women thinking about getting into the STEM field is, "It's definitely a field worthy of getting into. I think people in general, but especially women, should push themselves out of their comfort zones and into new areas. Don’t let the fact that you might be the only woman in that team stop you from doing something you find interesting. STEM roles are completely different now from when I first started, and I would definitely say there's no holding women in the industry back now. Nothing."