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Manufacturers collaborate to boost women’s cause

By Rod Addy , 10-Sep-2007

Manufacturers collaborate to boost women’s cause

More than 60 food and drink manufacturers are leading a drive to boost the number of women managers in the sector, by claiming cut-price training through a government initiative.

Companies have claimed funding from Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, to subsidise 90% of costs for female employees to achieve a Chartered Management Certificate. Participants include Tate & Lyle, Northern Foods and Young’s Seafood.

Improve secured the funding through the national Women & Work initiative, in a bid to address the gender imbalance in food and drink processing, where women constitute just 23% of managers.

Diane Winship, business support manager at Tate & Lyle, who has an 18-month old daughter, is mid-way through the course and has become a figurehead for Women & Work. “Improve has championed a fantastic initiative as part of the Women & Work scheme,” said Winship. “I hope the subsidised training will help others like me who have returned to work after having a baby to get back on the career ladder and work towards a management role.”

Courses are tailored to individual students, who can fit in study time whenever they have two free hours per week. “I’m confident the course will help develop my people management skills, leaving me better equipped to deal with people in my current role,” said Winship. “In the long term, having a formal qualification will also increase my chances of career progression.”

Paula Widdowson, Improve commercial director, said: “There is still some funding left for this opportunity, so any interested employers should contact Improve as soon as possible. By equipping women with relevant skills and knowledge, this course will allow them to take on more senior roles.”

The scheme is open to women employees in England at any position or level. Improve’s subsidy means that for an employer contribution of just £50 per employee, each person on the course will receive £500-worth of training.

For further information, visit http://www.improveltd.co.uk or call 0845 644 0448.