In 2021, the Institution of Fire Engineers launched their women’s networking group. One year on, and the group continues to go from strength to strength. The group aims to Support, Develop and Inspire women in the fire industry and already has a membership of 800 individuals on their LinkedIn Group page.
The group is particularly keen to inspire others by increasing the visibility of women within the fire industry. Representation matters; when we see someone who looks like us or has a similar story to ours in leadership, it’s easier to believe that we can progress to those levels too. As Elizabeth Marvel said, “If you can see it, you can be it”.
In its first year, the Group has:
- Established a programme of monthly webinars, providing both technical and inspirational presentations
- Run workshops to support those applying for MIFireE and IEng in completing applications
- Increased diverse representation by providing women speakers at in-person conferences and online roundtable discussions
- Promoted the group by hosting stands at 5 industry conferences this year, including Fire 2022, London Build, SheCanEngineer and the Women in Fire Service event
- Promoted diversity and inclusivity in the fire industry world-wide through webinars, online roundtable discussions, debates, podcasts and international trade magazine articles
- Undertaken educational visits to schools and careers events to promote fire engineering to the next generation
Reflecting on when she began her career in fire safety 20 years ago, Andrea White established the group to help others and provide the support network she felt would have benefited her.
The Committee has received substantial positive feedback from members regarding the group’s work and the inspiration it is giving to others in the fire industry and in other male-dominated industries.
Continuing to build on their success this year, the Group has bigger plans for 2023, including:
- The industry’s first Women in Fire Engineering Conference, focusing on empowerment – see below for more details
- Stronger partnerships with industry exhibitions including Fire Buyer Live, London Build, The Fire Safety Event and Firex
- Greater support for those wishing to develop their career
The Group is holding its first in-person conference on 9 February 2022 at Norton Park Hotel, near Winchester.
This is an opportunity for delegates to discuss, collaborate and network with a focus on empowerment. Women often suffer with a lack of confidence which can lead to a lack of self-promotion, leaving them unseen and undervalued. The conference aims to address this issue.
We are delighted that Dr Barbara Lane, Arup Fellow, Director of the Arup University and officer to the Arup Group Board, will give the keynote speech.
This will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the challenges that women face working in the fire industry.
We then have 3 expert presentations on empowerment topics by leading executive coaches:
- Mel Stanley will be covering how to make an Impact
- Sara Pardoe-Flay will speak on assertiveness & confidence
- Sarah Farmer will provide insight on influencing skills
The conference will conclude with a Panel Q & A session.
Our sponsors for the event are:
- Hydrock – Headline sponsor
- Apollo Fire Detectors
- Ove Arup
- Checkmate Fire Solutions
- New Build Database
WIFENG are also grateful for support from Nineteen Group and the Fire Safety Event.
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