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IOR celebrates women in the industry

Arranged to coincide with International Women in Engineering Day, the Institute of Refrigeration (IOR)’s Women in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps (RACHP) steering group held its first Development Day for Women on 23 June in the UK. By Samantha Buckell, IOR Women in RACHP steering group chair.

The one-day course was aimed at women who may not necessarily have a technical role in the industry, with a practical hands-on session alongside a personal development and career workshop.

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The first event of its kind to be staged for women in the cooling and heat pump industry, one of the aims was simply to test the water, to see how much interest there might be for this kind of event and whether it would be worthwhile to develop the initiative in the future.

The group is grateful to have the enthusiastic sponsorship of Bitzer UK, Cool Concerns, Fujitsu, Kelvion and Star Refrigeration and surprised and delighted by the instant take-up of the 16 delegate places available. On a broader front, the response by the industry to the event has been absolutely fantastic.

Delegates from IOR were joined by attendees from Adande Refrigeration, Bitzer UK, Daikin UK, Fujitsu General, HRP, Star Refrigeration and Space Engineering. As well as helping attendees deepen their technical understanding and supporting their career development, a third valuable element was encouraging networking.

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Delegates’ roles in their day-to-day jobs might not necessarily bring them into contact with women in the industry, so a valuable part of the day was about introducing themselves to others, and finding out more about what everyone does. It was extremely beneficial that those attending had a variety of roles, spanning engineering, sales, event organisation, team leader and PA, to name a few.

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The day was superbly hosted by the team at Cool Concerns in Tewkesbury. Their excellent training facilities meant it was ideal for both the technical and development and networking side of the programme.

At the start of the day, everyone was asked what they were most looking forward to. There was a consensus that the practical session was a real highlight and one of the major reasons for wanting to attend. A view emerged that it was possible that many people in the RACHP industry, who deal with the technology every day of their working lives, may have very little practical knowledge about how a refrigeration system works. Excepting the engineers who attended, of course.

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The afternoon session on personal development provided an opportunity for delegates to review their own careers to date. Delegates were asked to consider questions such as: what is your personal power? How do you develop in your career and plan your next move? It provided a great forum for discussion and learning from others, about how people felt about their role in the workplace and how they approach career development issues. It included a stimulating and truly insightful session led Carol Bond, a director with Carbon Data Resources.

Where to from here?
So where do we go from here? The group is looking to hold other courses in the future and aim to repeat this introductory course if there is sufficient interest, which there certainly appears to be. The Steering Group will be looking at different ways to bring women in the industry together, and what they can do to benefit them as part of that group.

Join in
If you are interested in keeping in touch with the group’s plans follow them on LinkedIn. You can also contact them if you have any ideas you would like to contribute regarding how they can develop the initiative.



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