Thursday, March 20, 2008


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(This is not a picture of Nick Yates - Just a fair lady representing the ladies of the world)

Helping women forge careers.
By Nick Yates

A BOLTON apprentice has won praise from a UK initiative helping women into work.

Microbiologist Sarah Tompkins, aged 28, lives in Runcorn, but works for Lantor (UK), a textiles firm based in St Helens Road, Bolton. She was recognised by the Women & Work Initiative at a ceremony in Derby last week.

The initiative is run by Skillfast UK, the sector skills council for fashion and textiles. It works with UK businesses to ensure recruitment and career pathways for women in sectors where there are skills shortages and where women are under-represented.

Ms Tompkins said: "I cannot thank Skillfast-UK enough for the opportunity they provided me. When I first came to work at Lantor UK I never thought that 12 months later I would be in a management role, with the opportunity to learn a whole new area of my chosen profession. Without the training and mentoring I undoubtedly would not have been given this opportunity. My career in management is no longer just a dream."

Skillfast-UK helps to resolve skills shortages by identifying specific training needs. It aims to offer women the opportunity to realise their potential in other areas of the business.

Lantor (UK) utilised the Women & Work initiative to support the development of Miss Tompkins' microbiological technical expertise at management level.

Richard Kiedish, managing director of Lantor (UK), said: "The Women & Work initiative allowed us to develop a specific and structured mentoring programme for Sarah internally, which helped her to build her management ability within the context of her professional career here at Lantor."

He added: "When a management vacancy arose last Christmas, we were able to promote Sarah to quality manager. Not only did this provide her with a previously impossible career move, it also helped us to fill a vacancy that would traditionally have been extremely hard for us to recruit in the past."

Linda Florance, chief executive of Skillfast UK, said: "I am keen to encourage women to consider a career in our sector, because it offers so much variety. It is an incredibly exciting sector covering everything from medical gauze used to heal sports injuries and technical fibres in aircraft wings, to high fashion garments and specialist cleaning services."

12:08pm Tuesday 18th March 2008
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