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Tuesday 17 November 2015

Jan Ward CBE receives honorary degree

Southampton-born mechanical engineer and founder of Corrotherm International Ltd, Jan Ward CBE, was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Engineering by Southampton Solent University on Tuesday 17 November 2015.

On receiving the award she said: “For me, this is an amazing honour. I could never have dreamt of this when I left school 43 years ago. What I wanted then was a job, but I realised very quickly that being young and enthusiastic didn’t actually qualify me for very much. It was getting qualified that got me a job.”

Ward is a mechanical engineer with 30 years’ experience in metals manufacturing and distribution. She has worked at board level for speciality metal producers and distributors, and has lived and worked in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.


She is the founder of Corrotherm International Ltd, a company specialising in high alloy metals for use in the oil, gas, petrochemical, power and desalination industries. Ward established the company 23 years ago from an office at home, and the company now has offices in ten countries.

Speaking about her route into mechanical engineering she said: “I should have been able to work it out at school really that manufacturing and engineering was for me, based on the fact that when I was upstairs with the girls doing domestic science, I wanted to be downstairs doing technical drawing and metal work. But in those days that wasn’t allowed.”

“Sadly even today one of the questions I am often asked is do I encounter barriers as a woman in a male dominated industry? I’ve come to the conclusion that there are no barriers, none that I can’t overcome anyway, and that’s the key. I’m sure that having the right attitude and absolute determination to get my own way has helped me get this far.”

Ward currently holds several advisory and non-executive positions specialising in innovative low-carbon industrial process technology and advanced manufacturing.

Highly passionate about manufacturing industry and her beloved Southampton, she is a non-executive director at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and a past president of the Southampton and Fareham Chamber of Commerce. She was interim chair of Southampton Cultural Development Trust and remains a trustee with an active interest in the cultural life of the city.


Ward also has 15 years’ experience acting as an advisor to various UK government departments on business issues locally, nationally and internationally.

She was named NatWest Everywoman award winner in December 2009; Institute of Directors Director of the Year, London and South East 2014; a Top 100 manufacturing role model 2014; and awarded a CBE in the 2015 New Year Honours list for services to business.

Almost 2,500 students will be graduating with degrees and professional qualifications from Southampton Solent University during ten ceremonies over five days (16-20 November).

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