Nipuni Karunaratne

Nipuni Karunaratne | Rolls-Royce Plc

Nipuni Karunaratne

Nipuni is the Digital Technology Manager at Rolls Royce, an Entrepreneur and the Vice chair for the Rolls Royce Gender Diversity Network in the UK.

She comes from an engineering family background where her parents always motivated her to learn and thrive for more in life without any barriers. Little did she know that becoming a female engineer in a male dominated industry could be so challenging yet exciting.

After her early education in Sri Lanka and in Dubai, she started her MEng in Aerospace Engineering at an early age of 16 which made her the youngest in every situation that she faced. In her second year of university she was offered a role at a research centre in Cambridge as a Technical research assistant. This is where her passion for new technology and innovations fruited. After her graduation in 2014, she was offered a role at Rolls Royce Civil Aerospace as a Graduate Manufacturing Engineer. During this time, she worked in various departments within the company progressing her career and gaining a wider understanding of the business. During this time, she became a Lean Six Sigma practitioner supporting the continuous improvement culture at Rolls Royce. As an example of this, she successfully closed out a major project which saves £1.2M yearly and increasing for the company. After successfully completing her graduate scheme as an overperforming employee of the company, she was offered a technical leadership role in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul department to lead the new global facility setup in North America and Asia. One of these factories being the world biggest repair centre for the Aerospace industry. In 2018 as a business-critical requirement, she then joined the Supply Chain Management Team supporting the service operations while looking after the German vendor network. In this role she was technically responsible for continuous supply chain of several critical parts of a Jet engine.

Nipuni’s passion in Science and Technology always motivated her to look for new technologies and improvements in industries. In 2019 whilst being at Rolls Royce, she started her own company in Research & Development with a focus in fourth generation Industry solutions. As the world moves to this digital transformation, Nipuni has recently been appointed as the Rolls Royce Digital Technology Team Manager for the Model Factory team. She will be working with a team of experts to deliver a major digitalisation program.

Through out Nipuni’s career she has been actively involved in STEM activities and helping the young generation by mentoring, coaching and inspiring. She has been a motivational and a STEM panel speaker in many leading events in the United Kingdom. During these events she have supported both young male and female participants by mentoring and coaching them from an early age to support in having a successful career in STEM industries. She has been elected in 2019 as the UK chair for the Gender Diversity Network at Rolls Royce and currently she is working as the Vice Chair supporting the company in positively changing the working environment to be more diverse and inclusive. This network has grown to be the biggest employee resource group with 1000+ members in the company. She has been involved in designing and developing a personal development session within the company which has become very popular and helped many female engineers to do well in their day to day job.

Nipuni’s ambition has always been to spread awareness and change the communities and STEM industries to move away from the stereotypes to values the talent and be more inclusive. She always thrives to be a role model for career driven women, demonstrating through her own experience of being a female young engineer in the world.


Frida Nzaba

Frida Nzaba | Rolls-Royce Plc

Frida Nzaba

If someone told me 10 years ago I would be working for Rolls Royce, I would have asked them, why would I want to work in a dirty garage fixing expensive cars?

In year 10 I realised I genuinely loved engineering. I enjoyed learning about the different machining processes such as turning and milling and the fact that I was able to apply some of these techniques to basically manufacture my coursework. I remember engineering was one of the subjects I always looked forward to because it was fun, practical and contained maths and physics that actually made sense to me.

In year 11, my engineering teacher advertised the amazing apprenticeships available, which were rarely encouraged in my school.
Initially, an apprenticeship was not an option for my family, it was in my parents’ interest that I follow the ‘traditional route’ to higher education. Eventually after months of research and convincing my family, I decided to undertake an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce in 2013.
I completed my apprenticeship and secured my first job in Rolls-Royce Hucknall as the Trent 700 component owner and a computer aided process planner (CAPP) alongside studying for my Mechanical Engineering Degree; I graduated in 2017.

I currently work as a Repair and Overhaul Manufacturing Engineer in Rolls-Royce Plc. This role consists of developing and implementing methods that can be used to repair various components from a jet engine. The main thing I enjoy is the fact that I can go into work and see various jet engines being stripped and assembled ready to dispatch to the customer; this is just simply mind blowing. I am also a board member of the WISE Campaign Young Professionals Board.

In 2019, I founded a non-profit social enterprise with two other great engineers. The enterprise aims to bridge the gap between STEM education and industry globally. I have mentored a dozen of young people, advising them of the options available to them after they finish their GCSEs and promoting them towards carrying out an apprenticeship. I am an advocate for Diversity and Inclusion, this has led to me becoming an active member and STEM lead for the Rolls Royce African and Caribbean Pioneers Network which is an Employee Resource Group within the company. I am also a STEM ambassador for Rolls-Royce and Nottinghamshire.


Frida Nzaba

Frida Nzaba | Rolls-Royce Plc

Frida Nzaba

If someone told me 10 years ago I would be working for Rolls Royce, I would have asked them, why would I want to work in a dirty garage fixing expensive cars?

In year 10 I realised I genuinely loved engineering. I enjoyed learning about the different machining processes such as turning and milling and the fact that I was able to apply some of these techniques to basically manufacture my coursework. I remember engineering was one of the subjects I always looked forward to because it was fun, practical and contained maths and physics that actually made sense to me. Through my passion and hard work in engineering I won Outstanding BTEC Engineering Student in 2013.

In year 11, my engineering teacher advertised the amazing apprenticeships available, which were rarely encouraged in my school.
Initially, an apprenticeship was not an option for my family, it was in my parents’ interest that I follow the ‘traditional route’ to higher education. Eventually after months of research and convincing my family, I decided to undertake an apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce in 2013.

I completed my apprenticeship in 2016 and secured my first job in Rolls-Royce Hucknall as the Trent 700 component owner and a computer aided process planner (CAPP) alongside studying for my Mechanical Engineering Degree; I graduated in 2017.

I am now working as a Repair Capability Manufacturing Engineer in Rolls-Royce Engine Overhaul Services, based in Derby. This role consists of developing and implementing methods that can be used to repair various components from a jet engine. The main thing I enjoy is the fact that I can go into work and see various jet engines being stripped and assembled ready to dispatch to the customer; this is just simply mind blowing. Through this role I am gaining a real understanding of Rolls-Royce as a business and its strategy, I believe to be a well-rounded engineer to be able to make decisions you must understand the business and the aftersales market, I purposely positioned myself in this role as it is a stepping stone in my career to eventually become a Manufacturing Engineering Executive in Rolls-Royce as you need broader understanding of the business as a whole.