South Africa hosts its first women in manufacturing conference

(Johannesburg) – The first Women in Manufacturing, Textile and Leather Conference 2016 was held in Sunninghill, Johannesburg last week. Knowledge about your industry, its importance and how and where to get assistance when needed.
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GOOD NEWS: The number of women trained per year grew since 2011.

Spinola Dube, organiser and founder of Amabhubesi Training and Conferencing, said in a press release the event is dedicated to support, promote and inspire women in this industrial sector. “For decades women have been under-represented in the sector. It’s high time that we close the gender gap within the manufacturing sector.”It’s not just about getting more women into manufacturing – it’s about strengthening manufacturing by engaging more people,” said Dube.

Philippa Rodseth, executive director for the Manufacturing Circle, said women [leaders] are important for the manufacturing sector. “Women should be in the manufacturing sector, because we are good at multi-tasking. We are resilient and have tenacity.

“The manufacturing sector accounts for 12% of South Africa’s GDP and employs about 1.6-million people, 34% are women. Rodseth advised that women should empower themselves with as much knowledge as possible. For example, if you are interested in funding, one of the things you should find out is if that funding is available.

Felleng Yende, chief executive officer of the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Authority (FPM-SETA), said that the government is trying to get more women in the manufacturing sector. There are training and bursary opportunities specifically available for women.

The number of women trained per year grew since 2011: a total of 1 832 women were trained in 2011/12, 1 848 women in 2012/13, 4 427 women in 2013/14, 6 328 in 2014/15, and 5 335 women in 2015/16.The women were trained in internships, learnerships, skills programmes and as artisans.Yende said they need 50% of women to become artisans.

She added: “We for example need more women in paper packaging- and pattern making space.”She quoted Statistics South Africa: “Women are mostly appointed in non- executive directorship positions [in manufacturing]. Only 9.2% of women hold chairperson positions and only 2.4% are appointed in chief executive officer positions.”Yende said that there are funding opportunities available such as the Women in Leadership project for women in the fashion industry.

Other topics at the event included Manufacturing model for women in Africa and Leadership and skills development in the foundry industry.

This story was sourced from SouthAfrican