Technology company Continental has launched ‘Women for Manufacturing’ in India, an initiative to empower and support women to take up a career in manufacturing through various skill development programs.
Manufacturing has been historically stereotyped as unsuitable for women, and over the years resulted in an under-representation of women in this field. Lack of awareness, the sheer breadth of manufacturing across different industries, limited access to skill development programs, have all contributed to these misconceptions and underrepresentation.
Continental’s program aims to nurture and inspire girls and women to better understand this industry, have access to resources and learning, to consider manufacturing as a career option.
At the inauguration of the program organized virtually, Rainer Hetzer, Head of Human Relations Autonomous Mobility and Safety, and HR sponsor for Continental India, said, “At Continental, we are persistently working to ensure gender parity at the workplace, especially in areas underrepresented by women talent. Focused measures and topics including learning initiatives, sensitizing programs, mentoring, leadership development programs, and equal pay are in place for women across different levels. Now is the time to apply the same goal for the larger society. Through the Women for Manufacturing program, we aim to create a sustainable ecosystem of skilled women force, creating more opportunities within the industry.”
Prashanth Doreswamy, Head of Continental India, and Managing Director Continental Automotive India said, “Manufacturing continues to be a high growth sector in India, and we need to build the right resource pool to match such an ambitious intent. Women for Manufacturing program is Continental’s commitment to prepare and mobilize untapped women talent, towards achieving a more gender-balanced manufacturing society. This year Continental will be completing 150 years since it was first established in 1871. As a part of the anniversary initiative, we have launched this special program extending our support and commitment towards social welfare.”
Centum Foundation, Continental’s NGO partner for this program, will be the implementation partner for this multi-year program that will eventually build a sustainable model of skill development, empowerment, guidance, and placement support that would help more women find a place in manufacturing, eventually benefitting the sector and contributing to the greater good of the society.
Initiatives of Women for Manufacturing
Continental together with Centum Foundation, plans to roll out skilling programs and coursework. Under the initiative, ‘The STEP Ahead’ will provide transformative steps to accelerate growth for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Production. Year one of the program focuses on three target groups – high school girls, ITI students, and unemployed women from underprivileged sections of society.
After phase-1 of the rollout which includes Bangalore and Gurgaon, the program will be extended to other industry hubs in a phased manner.
Awareness campaigns, curriculum development, certification programs, leadership development programs and plant tours are planned as part of skill development. The company also aims to create a two-way link between the industries/establishments and colleges, to utilise the trained students for internships and placements. The program will also have associations with various governmental and non-governmental organisations and industry bodies as necessary.
Continental has been present in India for close to 50 years, through technology partnerships (Continental Tires since 1974) and joint ventures for its various businesses. Today, the Tier 1 automotive supplier, tyre manufacturer, and industrial partner operate across India – with close to 8,000 employees across 15 locations, including nine plants that cater to the Indian market and a Technical Center that supports Continental's global R&D activities.