Community has played an invaluable role in our growth and success. Of course, community is sustained by the investment of its members, a truth we’re keenly aware of at Steelworks Design. We were justifiably excited with the appointment of our President, Rhonda Barnet, to Chair of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Board of Directors. It is an honour to serve a community as vibrant and vital as that of Canadian manufacturing, and a privilege to shape policy and navigate the challenges the industry faces.

Chief among these is the preservation of a vital community within manufacturing — a strong and capable workforce. Identified within the Industrie 2030 initiative aimed at doubling manufacturing output by 2030, skill and labour shortages are, in 5 years time, anticipated to affect 60 percent of businesses. On the eve of International Womens’ Day 2017, Rhonda was proud to announce the CME Women in Manufacturing Working Group, aimed at attracting and engaging women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers. While we’re excited about this initiative for a number of reasons, one in particular stands out for its resonance with a core philosophy at Steelworks Design:

Problems are simply opportunities by another name.

Problems prompt us to recognize when change is required, and in doing so, offer opportunities to learn and gain new perspective. Though convened largely to address a skill and labour shortage, the Women in Manufacturing Working Group is poised to unlock a rich vein of skill, perspective and diversity of thought, offering a quality of talent that far exceeds its quantity.

“The CME Women in Manufacturing Working Group offers significantly more than an initiative to simply remedy a skill and labour shortage, rather it taps a rich resource which I believe will launch manufacturing forward,” says Rhonda. “It’s a true milestone for our industry.”

The CME Women in Manufacturing Working Group represents an approach that is fresh, inclusive, and unburdened by biases of the past. This Working Group represents a meaningful shift in thinking and perceptions, namely those tied to gender roles and of manufacturing careers in general. The approach shown in this initiative, while tied to a specific outcome, holds the potential to reshape how Canadian manufacturing community responds and adapts to future challenges.

We’ll be following the developments and outcomes of the Women in Manufacturing Working Group closely over the following months, and look forward to the promise it holds for the manufacturing community.

Tiffany Floud (centre), in discussion with Rhonda Barnet.

To this end Steelworks Design would like to highlight one the newest members of our team, Tiffany Floud. Tiffany has a background in manufacturing, experience as a welder and has joined our team as a Manufacturing Quality Technician. Her position is instrumental to the growth of the company, ensuring that we continually exceed quality standards across the board; and, as we increase throughput, deliver products of the highest quality.