Government to fund ‘women in manufacturing’ cluster

apics NSW, a society for supply chain professionals, has secured State Government funding for its Women in Manufacturing Cluster to support career enhancement opportunities for women working in manufacturing.

apics NSW, a society for supply chain professionals, has secured State Government funding for its Women in Manufacturing Cluster to support career enhancement opportunities for women working in manufacturing.

The funding is part of the Government’s Strategic Business Cluster program, which in 2010 delivered over $670,000 to 74 clusters across NSW, helping over 3200 diverse small businesses.

Clusters are groups of businesses that combine their skills and knowledge to create new business opportunities or co-operate around common business objectives. They can be based in certain geographic areas or specific industry sectors.

The Women in Manufacturing specific Cluster is built on the success of the Women in Manufacturing Network and Stepping Up programs that have been championed by Industry and Investment over several years.  

Like these programs, the Cluster aims to improve the economic growth and sustainability of manufacturing in NSW by recognising and supporting women in the sector.

Carla Geddes (Director, Practicon Pty Ltd) and Sarah Adams were reportedly instrumental in surveying Network members to understand more clearly how the new Cluster might best be structured to meet identified development needs, and also take into account practical considerations like timing and format.

apics NSW has structured a program that will steer away from addressing technical or generic managerial competencies that are catered to by existing programs and providers, and focus rather on providing access to specific skills required for development and success within the sector. 

"Through a series of interactive and practitioner-driven workshops, the Cluster will focus on providing practical career success skills for women," said program manager, Deborah Rose. 

"Essential topics like career planning and management, self-promotion, image, networking and conflict management will be addressed."

Another key objective of the program will be to assist participants in creating a strong support network of professional women.  

"Building a strong network is crucial for women in the industry," said Rose. 

"This Cluster will give participants an opportunity to connect and learn from each other both at the face-to-face workshops as well as through an exclusive online Cluster network." 

In a bid to address the desire for women to hear from inspirational leaders and ‘women who have been there and done that’, the program will allow participants to connect with and learn from the real-world experiences of practitioners and female role models. 

apics will be drawing on its network and partners to source speakers who can share their practical experiences or who are willing to participate as sounding boards for ideas and inspiration.

apics hopes that the Cluster will also draw in a wider audience of Managers and Corporate Leaders as it seeks to raise awareness of the business benefits of gender diversity and encourage and educate companies and Managers to support and mentor women in the workplace. 

The Cluster is by definition a collaboration and requires the participation and support of individuals and companies who are passionate about building careers for women in manufacturing or a related supply chain fields.

Questions or requests to participate can be directed to apics NSW on 02 9891 1411 or enquiries@apicsnsw.org.au   Applications close 25 February 2011