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Limitless opportunities



“The work certainly is not out of our reach [as women] but very few of us realise the how much potential there is in the industry to achieve amazing things.” Jasmine Riddle.


Jasmine Riddle. Image supplied.

Under-representation of women in leadership across various industries and in some of Australia’s most thriving and essential businesses continues to be problematic.


While some argue a plethora of factors contribute to women missing in leadership, it does raise a question: in 2021 are these ‘factors’ still relevant or are they now misconceptions?


In this series, we talk to women leading the way in their respective fields, across a range of industries, in businesses we bank. They share helpful advice and lessons learnt and most importantly, help us bust some misconceptions about their working lives.


Business Growth

All of the participants in this series have been involved in ANZ’s Business Growth Program. This year, the program saw a 27 per cent uptake of women in leadership roles participating in Business Growth CEO Clinics across Australia.


The ANZ Business Growth Program is delivered by The Australian Centre for Business Growth, University of SA with global growth expert Dr Jana Matthews, ANZ Chair in Business Growth at UniSA.


The online courses, seminars and webinars are open to all Australian businesses participating in the program. ANZ business banking customers can speak to their relationship manager about taking part in targeted one-day clinics and an intensive nine-month program.


‘Man’ufacturing not just for men


Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the Australian manufacturing industry contributes approximately $100 billion to Australian GDP annually and employs around 900,000 people, with one in four being women.


Here we speak to Jasmine Riddle, operations and strategic business manager with JRS Manufacturing who is leading the way in the exciting and rapidly evolving world of manufacturing.


Jasmine grew up in the sunny South-East of Queensland having spent her youth in Brisbane and on the beaches of Fraser, Stradbroke, Moreton, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts in Queensland.


“It was such an amazing time to be growing up there and I reflect on this time with great happiness,” Jasmine says.


When she finished high school, Jasmine was relativity uninspired and for a while struggled with what to do with her career.


However she came alive when she was accepted into the Royal Australian Navy and from there, she says ‘life made sense’. The camaraderie, the excitement, the challenges… all bought out an edge in Jasmine she didn’t know she had.


After finishing her Navy service, Jasmine raised her four children and worked at JRS when it best suited her family. Jasmine and her husband continue to apply this to their business today.


What is your job title and can you give a little insight into what a day in the life of Jasmine Riddle looks like?


I am the Operations and Strategic Business Manager at JRS Manufacturing Group.

It’s ridiculously busy but I love the intensity and the ongoing need to be dynamic, flexible and capricious.

My day-to-day responsibilities vary depending on the landscape we are driving in. It’s critical to find a balance between the operational pull of the business and the work that needs to take place to identify opportunities and areas of volatility and uncertainty.

DEBUNK: In male-dominated industries such as manufacturing, there is a perception the type of work is hands on, factory work. You challenge that perception in your role; what opportunities are actually available in the industry?


I think if we look at manufacturing as a whole industry the opportunities to have a career, be challenged and create personal growth are limitless for women.


There are still hands on, factory roles but with the advancements taking place, those roles are evolving to incorporate the interface of robotics and technology. The facilities of these operations are bright, high tech, inspiring and vibrant workspaces.


Diversity in the workplace is important to business. Sitting at a table to solve a problem with a group of individuals who have had different experiences and methods of approach can be a game changer.


Who wouldn’t want that advantage?


Most people don’t know that I…


Love to enjoy a nice cold beer while sitting at my sewing machine making something fabulous!


This year, JRS hired first-year Boilermaker Apprentice, Bianca Jordaan. How important is it to support and employ women in manufacturing?


The industry is ready and willing to provide opportunities to women in manufacturing and the key areas that feed into it from an innovation and design perspective.

Collectively we are demanding it as the reality is manufacturing and welding specifically have suffered a skills crisis for quite some time and job vacancies are at an all-time high nationally.


As business owners we need to play our part to keep the industry strong and provide opportunities to women as trades people will play a critical role in that.


The work certainly is not out of our reach as women but very few of us realise how much potential there is in the industry to achieve amazing things.


One piece of advice you would give to other women looking to lead?


You can achieve anything if you don’t care who gets the credit.


As a leader, I believe you should give credit where credit is due and be aware of who brings the wins to the table within your team.


However, success is built in an environment free of grandstanding. Having the mindset of ‘the mission is more important than the credit one gains’ allows you to drive the business to great success.


What are you seeing in terms of innovation? What are you most excited about for the future of the manufacturing industry?

Manufacturing at present is an absolute cacophony of innovation.


As we scramble to embrace all that comes at us from Industry 4.0 and the demands around building our Sovereign Manufacturing Capability, I think it is very possible that the Australian Manufacturing Industry can build to lead the way.


It will take time and considerable investment from leaders and business, but the advantages are unquestionable.


The future is an eco-system of Hybrid Manufacturing where the innovators and the specialists come together to create commercialised products that are sent to market faster and with superior standards.


I absolutely love being in the driver’s seat at work ensuring our company operates with collaboration, agility, integrity and innovation.


Manufacturing is a constantly evolving ecosystem and the opportunities to expand our knowledge and skills is exponential as Industry 4.0 gains momentum!


JRS Manufacturing Group is a Toowoomba (QLD)-based steel fabrication and welding company that has been operating for 10 years. It provides custom steel fabrication and welding services from its fully-equipped workshop, offering fabrication consultation and construction of plate, pipe and structural steel products for clients in the civil, energy, mining, agricultural, oil and gas industries.

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