Bengaluru: Technology company Continental’s “Women for Manufacturing” programme, launched as a 150th-anniversary initiative, has been making inroads into women empowerment through targeted campaigns and programmes.
Together with implementation partner Centum Foundation, the project was rolled out in Bengaluru and Gurugram in June 2021. The programme focuses on three target groups – high school girls, ITI and Engineering students, and unemployed women from underprivileged sections of society. The programme is planned to be extended to other industry hubs in a phased manner, including associations with various governmental and non-governmental organisations and industry bodies as necessary.
Prashanth Doreswamy, President & CEO, Continental India said, “Statistics show that in India, women’s workforce participation rate is low, and the manufacturing industry has a lower rate compared to many other industries. COVID had an additional impact, resulting in a further decline in female employment. Our Women for Manufacturing initiative hopes to bridge the gender gap in the manufacturing industry. We need more women in the manufacturing sector, and organisations should support the ecosystem to enable this.”
Overhaul of Perception of Manufacturing Industry
Studies show that women comprise about 12 per cent of India’s manufacturing sector. Socio-economic and cultural conditions are some of the many reasons why such disparity exists, but also lack of awareness, relevant education, and wrong perceptions about the manufacturing industry.
The manufacturing industry is often wrongly perceived as unsuitable for women. Continental’s Women for Manufacturing programme focuses on building awareness, visits to plants for first-hand experience of work conditions, safety, inclusive practices, advancements in automation and smart technologies, creation and increasing opportunities and career options through training, internship, and placements, and mentoring and counselling for participants and their key family members to address societal stereotypes.
The major component of the programme is a certification programme for employable age women, which includes 320 hours of training, including hands-on machinery operations, factory exposure sessions and plant tours. At the end of the certification programme, which comes under the Capital Goods Skill Council and course level – NSQF Level 3, the candidates are provided with mentoring, interview preparation support, and placement support. Several manufacturing companies in and around Bangalore and Gurgaon have already hired the women who underwent the certification programme, taking the placement to 100 per cent for the completed batches. Additional batches for the certification are currently underway.
Apart from the Women for Manufacturing programme, Continental also recently launched a programme – Launch-pad – to hire and develop women who were on a career break as part of a long-standing effort to promote gender diversity and equal opportunities.