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Gender transformation is a strategic imperative for BI

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As gender and ethnicity transformation is part of the strategic imperatives of Bearings International (BI), it focuses on building a strong talent pipeline by employing a number of young black individuals yearly and especially target females.

These learnerships are a key element of BI’s skills development programme, whereby unemployed learners are afforded the opportunity to spend 12 to 18 months under the leadership of a mentor. Very often these learners are absorbed into the business, creating another opportunity to support BI’s transformation and diversity agenda.

While transformation continues to be a challenge in an industry traditionally dominated by men, BI has made a concerted effort to employ female Branch Managers and other Heads of Departments. These include HR Manager Colleen Daniels and Supply Chain Director Laura van Rooyen.

“We look at the true skills, experience and potential of these individuals and value their contribution towards our business,” stresses Colleen. “The application of our DNA and policies to drive diversity and inclusion is important. We cannot see this business growing if people are left behind on the journey,” states Colleen.

BI receives feedback from its employees through department representatives as to how it can improve. “We encourage candid discussions and welcome this from all our employees,” Colleen notes. BI has made a dedicated effort to recruit young black individuals yearly. These unemployed learners are afforded the opportunity to spend 12 to 18 months under the leadership of a mentor. Very often these learners are absorbed into the business, creating another opportunity to support BI’s transformation and diversity agenda.

Colleen has over 18 years’ industry experience, mainly in manufacturing. She has also worked in the construction industry, and started her career as an HR Admin Assistant. “Working in the commercial environment has given me a new perspective, and I love it.” She has a BTech in HR Management (cum laude) from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and recently completed her BCom Honours in Industrial and Organisational Psychology through Unisa.

Colleen is responsible for the strategic design and implementation of all HR initiatives at BI. Her duties include skills development and empowerment, performance improvement and team building. Colleen highlights that her team supports these key performance areas. “My team is integral to the standard and quality of the service we deliver. The people I work with value the input of each and every person around the table. It changes things when you have a mature and transformed mindset.”

Indeed, it is the people of BI that keeps her motivated and passionate about her job. “We have a young senior management team and together I believe there is a true sense of wanting to make a difference in the lives of our employees and also in how we serve our customers. When you can identify and relate to the DNA of the business, it becomes second nature. With this in mind, it drives me to be a part of our ongoing journey.”

Colleen concludes: “We often expect there to be a magical recipe for success, but there is only passion, hard work and dedication. A solid theoretical foundation is key. Open yourself to learning and open yourself to trial and error. We can only learn from our mistakes, as therein lies growth.”


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