IFE launches the Early Careers Networking Group

The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) has announced the launch of its Early Careers Networking Group (ECNG), a new initiative designed to support budding talent in the field of fire engineering. The group aims to offer young professionals and students a comprehensive insight into the wide range of vocations available within fire engineering, encouraging interest in the sector.

Hosted on LinkedIn, the IFE ECNG’s mission is to foster a supportive community where early-career individuals can thrive and find their path in fire engineering. The launch comes at a crucial time following the publication of The Science Education Tracker 2023 by Engineering UK, which raised concerns about the future workforce in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. A survey of over 7,000 young people in England revealed significant challenges and a pronounced gender gap:

  • Only 12% of girls feel that being an engineer fits well with their identity.
  • Just 16% of girls believe an engineering career is suitable for them.
  • Practical science opportunities are crucial, particularly for less engaged students.
  • Only 26% of GCSE students participate in practical work at least every fortnight.
  • Interest in science has declined, and a gender gap has emerged, with 36% of girls stating
    that science is not for them.

The ECNG will address these key factors as the group progresses, starting with establishing a platform where young people can explore and discuss fire engineering pathways.

Dean Morris, chair of the ECNG, said: “I think everyone looks back on their life with hindsight and thought about what they would do if they had their time over again. This group will offer a platform to share these experiences and offer advice to anyone that is new to the industry or who is thinking of joining. “I really hope that it provides a safe space where people can ask questions but also network and
meet like-minded people. Everyone is at different levels in their career and experience and had to start from somewhere, so creating a safe space is important for development and ensuring competency in the industry.”

The group serves as an open forum for asking questions and seeking career advice, while also hosting events and soon offering mentoring opportunities. CEO of the IFE, Steve Hamm, added: “We’re delighted to welcome the Early Careers Networking Group to the IFE’s portfolio of groups. Its output will address integral issues across the fire sector, ultimately benefitting our membership, further stakeholders and shaping the future workforce.

“Young people from around the globe will now have a space to collaborate and seek advice on an international scale; I believe it will play a pivotal role in shaping the future of fire engineering for budding talent. By offering a space to explore career options, we aim to bridge the gender gap and ignite a passion for fire engineering in young people within the UK and overseas.”

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