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One of Bridgend’s largest employers has stepped up its efforts to get more women into senior manufacturing jobs by signing up for an innovative programme to help female production workers to climb the management ladder.

Staff at Pencoed-based insulation manufacturer ROCKWOOL have benefitted by enrolling on to Agile Nation Ascent, which is being run by the women’s economic development body, Chwarae Teg, to boost their confidence, unlock their management talents, and provide them with a recognised qualification.
Two have already been promoted and more job progression is in the pipeline.
The company called in Chwarae Teg to help them ensure more women in the business achieved their full career potential. The organisation works with businesses on a number of levels, including enrolling female staff on Ascent which provides recognised management training and follow-up mentoring.
Ten women from ROCKWOOL have earned accredited Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) qualifications to help them climb the career ladder, and two have since been promoted.
Ascent is part of Chwarae Teg’s £12.5m European Social Fund and Welsh Government-funded Agile Nation project that is supporting the progression of women in the workplace.
Rachel Morgan started at ROCKWOOL in 2008 as a fork lift driver but since completing Ascent, has been promoted to team leader. She now works closely with her immediate line manager, the factory’s process controller, and stands in for him when he is away, which means she is already gaining valuable experience to support her further career progression.
Rachel said: “The Ascent programme was very useful and I’ve had lots of follow-up support from Chwarae Teg. I feel the programme has helped me build confidence and I now understand more about the limits and skills of a team leader. Time management advice has helped me become more organised and delegate more. When attending the programme sessions I also got to meet lots of women from different industries and it was great to share ideas on management techniques. My manager noticed my increased confidence and skills, and getting my promotion was the icing on the cake.”
Bob Perry, Production Director at ROCKWOOL, said: “ROCKWOOL has a good history of tangible success with regards to breaking down barriers, for example the Bridgend factory had ROCKWOOL group’s first female factory manager in 1992. We’d always had women in the offices or labs, but in 2007 we wanted to attract women into manufacturing, which is often seen as a man’s environment, so we had a drive to recruit local women. Thank you to Chwarae Teg for their support and for providing the training opportunities for our female workforce.”
Hayley Dunne, Agile Nation Project Manager, said: “When we set up Agile Nation our aim was to have a real impact on real lives and the achievements of these women is this aim realised. I thank the managers at ROCKWOOL for identifying individuals whom they believed had great potential. Congratulations to all the women who have undertaken the Ascent programme and for proving your managers right.”


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