The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceForBetter.

Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. Gender balance is essential for economies and communities like ours to thrive.

We caught up with Kirsty Strain, who’s a Quality Control Supervisor at the Camden Group glass factory, to see what it’s like for a woman to work on the shop floor of a traditionally male-dominated environment.

Meet Kirsty…

Taking quality control: Kirsty oversees the quality of all production within our glass factory.

Kirsty’s worked as part of Camden Group for three years, and in that time, she’s been promoted twice.

Originating from a design background, Kirsty is also a wedding and events planner in her spare time, specialising in the styling and design of wedding venues.

“Although my role in Camden may seem like the polar opposite to this, they both actually require the same characteristics, such as an immaculate attention to detail and strategic preparation,” says Kirsty.

The 28-year-old from Ballymena originally started out with us as a Decorative Glass Operative, thanks to her previous background in design.

She was then promoted to Team Leader of the department – taking leadership of the female-dominated team – before diversifying into her current role, overseeing the quality of all production within the glass factory.

With an average of 7,000 glass products leaving the factory every week, quality control of every single piece comes down to Kirsty – a responsibility she relishes.

She says: “I get the most job satisfaction from making an impression as a woman in a male dominated industry. I also take price in achieving personal targets and enhancing the overall standard of product quality during inspections within the glass factory.

“Personally, I find it surprising that there’s still a stigma surrounding females in male-dominated industries such as this. We have a high percentage of females that work in various production roles at Camden and speaking from my own experience here, there definitely is a more open approach to gender equality in all roles.

“It purely comes down to the individual and their capabilities. I didn’t achieve the role I am in today because of my gender, but because of my skills and consistent work ethic. It’s refreshing to be in a working environment where the stigma is broken.”

“Traditionally it may be a considerably male dominant arena, but we break the mould.”

No two days are the same for Kirsty – she conducts daily audits at the glass factory, opens and closes quality procedures, visits sites where required and liaises across departments at Camden including senior management, customer services, order processing and customers directly.

The variety of work keeps Kirsty on her toes, as she explains: “Every day is different and there will always be a new challenge to overcome. We’re never static and we’re always making improvements in the best interest of the company and our customers.

“It’s important that we constantly adapt and evolve as a company, with our service and our products as we are in a competitive industry. I feel valued in my role, I know my expertise matters and I’m involved in any changes that are made to improve the overall production in the glass factory.

“Working at Camden over the past three years has motivated me to strive towards a role that allows me to concentrate on ensuring the quality of our products meets the highest of standards for our customers.”