BRANDIX: INSPIRING LIVES THROUGH INCLUSIVITY
At Brandix, we believe that excellence in the workplace is not defined or limited by gender. Instead, we place great value in fostering a diverse and wellbalanced work environment that equally supports all employees’ career aspirations and steers every individual towards fulfilling their ultimate potential.
As the leading Apparel exporter in Sri Lanka, Brandix has paved way for nearly 38,000 females to be part of its workforce and an integral part of the company’s operations. Significantly, nearly 90% of the entire Brandix workforce is represented by females. This has led to the company identifying that a well-rounded individual is a value addition not only to the organization, but a valuable asset to their personal lives as well.
Brandix therefore strives to engage its employees to participate in company initiatives that promote personal development, helps them strike a healthy work-life balance, and encourages their sense of ambition to succeed in their respective field of work.
Empowering female Associates through P.A.C.E.
In line with this aspiration, Brandix, in partnership with global retail giant Gap Inc., rolled out the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) programme in 2012 in Sri Lanka, with the aim of embedding foundational skills and technical training in Brandix female Associates (Production Floor employees), providing them with a stepping stone to excel in their careers and personal lives.
The programme comprises of eight modules on life skills education; including Communication, Problem Solving & Decision Making, Time & Stress Management, Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Financial Literacy, Legal Literacy & Social Entitlement, General & Reproductive Health, and Execution Excellence. To date, 4,341 Associates have enrolled for the programme since its launch in Sri Lanka in 2012.
“Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. programme has delivered immeasurable value to many of our Associates, contributing significantly to their progression in the workplace, and in helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance over the years,” stated the company.
“Inspiration is at the core of everything we do, and the P.A.C.E. training programme is designed to inspire and empower female employees to gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life.”
Brandix Female Mechanic Programme: making the unconventional a norm
Yet another significant step taken by Brandix in its ongoing efforts to promote equal opportunities across the Group, is the Female Mechanic Programme which provides an in-house training course on sewing machine maintenance and repair to female Associates.
Venturing into a skill set that was once considered a ‘man’s role’, female Associates of Brandix from across its business clusters are given the opportunity to pursue an intensive four-month training programme, which encompasses a comprehensive range of technical skills. Aged between 18 to 30 years, these Associates who had earlier been employed as Sewing Machine Operators, Quality Controllers and Helpers, have now been promoted to the position of Junior Mechanic with higher salaries and improved prospects for progression.
“We are delighted with the success of the training programme and the enthusiasm, passion and commitment of our Associates,” stated the company.
“As a Group that is committed to equal opportunity employment, Brandix offers its executive and non-executive staff numerous opportunities for career progression, and it is most encouraging to see these opportunities being made the most of.
Care for Water: Care for Women – Care for Our Own
In 2006, Brandix developed the ‘Care for Our Own’ initiative to respond to the urgent need for clean water supply systems among its Associates and their communities, and to contribute to the national goal of providing safe drinking water and sanitation for the entire populace by 2025.
The focus on water was also prompted by the pivotal role it plays towards the manufacturing process in the Apparel industry. The Brandix CSR Centre has been working to alleviate the stress of water poverty for women across Sri Lanka. The company’s CSR efforts were initiated following a comprehensive survey of its workforce, where it was highlighted that lack of access to clean water was the most pressing concern for its female Associates.
This resulted in Brandix focusing its initiatives on water and women’s work as the core offering towards the communities of Sri Lanka under the four main pillars of ‘Provide’, ‘Educate’, ‘Research’, and ‘Disaster Management’. Additionally, the Brandix CSR Centre also conducts programmes that cover livelihood development, construction of housing, and health screenings.
Since its inception, Brandix has taken great measures to foster a culture of equal opportunities for all employees of the organization. As a result, every Brandix employee is given the platform to excel, further their careers, and pursue their aspirations reinforced by the support of the Management and peers, devoid of any discrimination.
The company continues its journey to inspire its people, communities and partners, offering ‘Inspired Solutions’ to the world of Apparel as an inclusive and responsible organization.
Kithmina Hewage- Institute of Policy Studies