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UKRC applauds diversity and inclusion at MX Awards

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The UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology (UKRC), an organisation committed to equality and diversity in the workplace, has announced the winner of the UKRC Diversity and Inclusion Award at the Manufacturing Excellence (MX) Awards 2008.


Cummins, the world’s largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines, picked up the award at a glittering ceremony at the Dorchester Hotel in London last week.  Organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the MX Awards celebrate some of the world’s most innovative companies. The UKRC Diversity and Inclusion Award, now in its fourth year, offers recognition to companies who have embedded equality and diversity into their working ethos.  

Cummins was chosen as the winner due to its creation of innovative solutions to attract more female staff into the traditionally white, male-dominated automotive industry. It has introduced a number of initiatives including new shifts, programs such as Mentoring Circles and the Women’s Affinity Group, projects to address equal pay and has shown its commitment to flexible working.  The energy Cummins has put into this is already paying dividends in terms of recruitment at all levels.

Annette Williams, director of the UKRC, said: “Cummins is an excellent example of a company dedicated to promoting fairness and equality throughout the workplace. The impact of its commitment is evidenced by the representation of female employees in the company that is extremely impressive.  It increased the number of women in production roles on the shop floor from 14 in 2006 to 69 women in 2008.      

Only 5.3% of engineering professionals in the UK are women and although half a million women in the UK are qualified in science, engineering or technology (SET), less than a third actually work in those sectors. Yet these sectors are all experiencing increased global competition at a time when they are also suffering severe skills shortages; it is estimated that by 2011 only one third of the workforce will be white, male and under 45. Against this backdrop, there is undoubtedly a real business case for diversifying the traditional recruitment base.

“Women remain very much unrepresented in science and engineering as a whole and also in the manufacturing industry.  The UKRC is here to provide resources and guidance to companies and individuals wanting to improve this position. Our sponsorship of the MX Award is designed to recognise what companies are achieving but also to increase awareness that productivity and equality are co-dependant, The UKRC offer a range of services to bring about positive change for companies and for individuals.”  

Sara Vasey, project leader, Cummins, said: “Winning the UKRC’s Diversity and Inclusion Award is a great accolade for Cummins and testament to the focus we have put on equality in the workplace. The company has achieved recognition for diversity in the U.S., and we are pleased that the hard work at one of our key U.K. facilities has also been recognised. As well as the introduction of company-wide initiatives, we have made significant investments in improving facilities on site in the UK and recently had a visit from a female US Vice-President who gave an inspirational speech to female employees.”  

The Manufacturing Excellence Awards programme is the premier annual award scheme for UK manufacturing industry, supporting and recognising manufacturing success. The Awards attract entries from manufacturing businesses in all sectors – and because of the unique format of the Awards, every entrant is a winner. This is because every entrant receives a customised benchmark report rating their performance against best practice and highlighting areas for improvement.

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