Assisting women in manufacturing

Following the success of the pilot program during 2007, the Women in Manufacturing Stepping Up Program, facilitated by apics NSW and subsidised by the NSW Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD), will be offered again during 2008.

Participants of the 2007 program included both owners and managers of manufacturing businesses and those employed in manufacturing and/or production roles.

“This mix will be encouraged again for 2008 as it allows for a good cross-pollination of ideas and the establishment of wider networks that can be really beneficial to women as they develop their careers within the industry,” says Garry Ferris, Business Development Manager with the DSRD.

In addition to informal relationships that the women will establish throughout the program, participants are matched with a more experienced, supply chain or manufacturing practitioner who can mentor them.

Participants in the 2007 program confirmed that having someone to talk to about issues they are struggling with was very helpful — giving them the confidence to implement changes and make improvements.

The more formal part of the program allows participants to attend seven instruction sessions led by experts and designed to provide best-practice, practical learning opportunities.

During 2007, these sessions covered key manufacturing concepts such as: Inventory Management, Forecasting, Manufacturing Processes and Materials, Project Management and Materials Requirements Planning.

The program also included a site visit to Bonds Industries allowing the women to see a range of manufacturing processes and procedures in action.

Deborah Rose, the Program Facilitator for 2008 confirms that similar themes and learning opportunities will be incorporated into the program.

“Our aim is to provide real, practical learning opportunities for these women, to enhance their skills and ensure that they have a good general understanding of modern manufacturing and supply chain operations”, she says.

Ms Rose, who has 30 years’ experience in the manufacturing and distribution sector as well as being an accomplished lecturer and mentor, hopes that “by facilitating programs like this we can build a more competitive, sustainable manufacturing sector in NSW.”

Feedback from the 2007 program has been very positive, with one participant commenting:

“I believe the program would be beneficial for all women in manufacturing who want to improve their technical knowledge in a variety of manufacturing areas. It will help in the development of their careers and performance.”

The next Women in Manufacturing Program Stepping Up Program will commence in April 2008.

Expressions of interest should be received before 30 November 2007 and applications close 25 February 2008. apics NSW is also seeking experienced practitioners who would like to contribute/participate as Mentors in this program.

For an information sheet and/or application form please contact Linda Henry, Business Manager, apics NSW office Tel: 02 9891 1411 Fax: 02 9891 1220

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