An initiative that aims to recognise and celebrate the contributions of women in powered access, as well as outlining career pathways for women both already in the industry and looking to enter it, has been launched by the International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) at the Vertikal Days 2022 event, East of England Showground, Peterborough, UK.
The initiative has been inspired by new IPAF President Karin Nars, who became the first woman elected to the role when confirmed at the IPAF AGM in London in March. In her inaugural address to the IPAF Summit, Nars said: “I never doubted I could reach my dreams because I was a woman. That’s why I would like every girl and young woman who wants to work in our industry to be offered that chance and to receive the support to do so. IPAF is in a good position to promote equal opportunities for all – I aim to use my voice as President to promote such a programme.”
In outlining the new Women in Powered Access initiative, she adds: “Inclusion is important because it enables people to share different perspectives in a supportive environment. Safety is a joint effort to which everybody can and should contribute to. Therefore, we cannot afford to exclude anybody from the conversation surrounding safety in our industry and the actions we recommend. While we may work in a male-dominated business, there is more to the story than that.
“An important first step is to encourage more women to bring their knowledge, passion and work ethic to our industry. The difference they can make can be a positive surprise in many ways. We already have thousands of women in our industry whose stories have not been told. And their stories are something young women need to see and hear – to help them become inspired and learn about paths women have taken in our industry. As an organisation, we can help share such stories.
“With the Women in Powered Access initiative, we invite women of all ages and different professional roles to share their stories of inclusivity. Through these stories and role models, we want to communicate the broad opportunities our industry can offer women. And we do not want to compare or exclude anyone. We are inviting everybody with a passion for our industry, and a passion for safety in powered access, to be heard and to contribute. It is all about cooperation and bringing different perspectives to the table – for the good of our industry.”
The initiative is set to include a number of key actions, including providing a platform to tell the stories of women in powered access in both the media and at industry events, including through a press launch and photocall at Vertikal Days 2022. IPAF will also use its own print, web and social media platforms to share these inspirational case studies, and will also continue to invite prominent women speakers to present at IPAF events.
Peter Douglas, CEO & Managing Director of IPAF, comments: “IPAF wants to play a big role in promoting and sustaining inclusivity in the powered access industry. That is why we are launching this Women in Powered Access initiative. Over the next few months, we will be giving a platform to various women who are brilliant examples of achievement and success in our industry, in a variety of different roles.
“We are pleased to begin that by profiling two women who are among the first intakes to the new IPAF Powered Access Engineering Apprenticeship at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College. Both Catherine McCreedy and Megan Campbell have kindly agreed to join us on our stand at Vertikal Days 2022, to speak to visitors and to help us tell their stories. We hope they will be the first of many, and that their stories and those of others will inspire women both already in and yet to enter our industry.”