AS we celebrate International Women's Day 2023, one organisation is acknowledging the valuable contribution that women make to the advanced manufacturing sector, noting that 50% of the Group's senior management team is female.
With the average figure for females within the workforce across the manufacturing sector sitting at 30%, the JANS Group is aspiring to make a difference by utilising and maximising the expertise that these females bring to the company.
Based in Antrim, the JANS Group hosts a number of companies across Northern Ireland, from ETRUX, a specialist in the hire, lease, purchase and conversion of commercial vehicles located in Antrim and Staffordshire, to JANS Modular, which constructs modular buildings for the leisure and residential market. JANS Lifestyle is an outdoor lifestyle specialist which has a retail location in Belfast and focuses on the rental and sale of luxury campervans, as well as providing exciting product ranges for camping and leisure activities. It also includes Ballymena based VW approved campervan conversion manufacturer, Bespoke NI.
The Group is keen to extol the virtues of a diverse workforce noting that females in the workforce bring a different dynamic, a kindness, and a distinctive leadership style, which along with their extensive knowledge and experience, they offer real value to many organisations.
Edel Doherty, is the firm's Chief Commercial Officer. Her role is to oversee marketing and commercial operations across the entire Group and with decades of experience in running companies, Edel, who is a previous Women in Business award winner, said:
"Working in an advanced manufacturing sector brings with it any number of challenges, however at its core are two things, product and people. The latter who all work together, towards a common goal of manufacturing a product to the very best quality possible, delivering to our key market sectors. Gender diversity has its merits, but it is about a coherent workforce, all working together as a team to benefit the whole Group."
Head of Team Support at the JANS Group is Edel Healy; she has a talent for building productive working relationships and is keen that every employee regardless of gender is given the opportunity to excel in a thriving and engaging culture. She said:
"At the JANS Group, it's imperative that we have the right person in the right role, that they undertake the right training and development and that they are supported in order that they too can excel at the JANS Group. We are already an eclectic group, but I’d like to see more females on the manufacturing floor, definitely more female apprenticeships, particularly having had one of our joinery apprentices, Leon Carley win Rutledge’s apprentice of the year."
Samantha Thompson, a Chartered Certified Accountant (ACCA) with an MSc in Professional Accountancy is also part of the senior management team and as Head of Finance working at the strategic level, it’s imperative that she sees support across the senior and middle management teams. Samantha said:
"I commend the JANS Group on how it empowers women in order to strengthen the manufacturing sector. The nature of JANS's success is there for all to see, the disparate nature of the companies and their individual success. Each and every one of us contributes to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and we all have a role to play."
Manufacturing in Northern Ireland accounts for 11% of employment and 15% of Gross Value Added (GVA), making it a key sector in the Northern Ireland economy.