- Friday, 08 March 2019 08:00
Avon Fire & Rescue Service (AF&RS) is teaming up with Avon & Somerset Police (ASP) this International Women’s Day to offer a series of Springboard programmes for women.
The programmes are designed for women from all backgrounds, ages and stages of their careers to develop and progress throughout the Service.
Although the programme was initially written and developed for women in non-management roles, women from all levels will now be able to participate in the programme to benefit their personal and career development.
As well as inspirational guest speakers, it enables women from different sectors to support and learn from each other, identify clear, practical and realistic steps that they wish to take at work and home, whilst building the practical skills and confidence to take these steps.
Over the next three years, AF&RS will be inviting all female staff to take part in the Springboard programme.
AF&RS will also be offering further opportunities to join the Springboard Development Plus programme for senior female leaders, of which one course is currently running, and the Navigator programme for male staff, which is anticipated to launch next year.
Angela Feeney, Deputy Director of Corporate Services, is currently part of a Springboard Plus programme and would like to see more women take up the opportunity.
She said: “The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is #Balanceforbetter and I believe that advocacy, inclusive mindsets and tangible actions are essential to achieve a positive difference for women and stronger workplaces which are enriched by, and celebrate, diversity.
“As a Service we know we have to do more for our female staff and opportunities like Springboard are a great way to gain practical and supportive help to reach our full potential in life and in work.
“It is only part of the solution of course and we will shortly be communicating our cultural survey action plan. It is however an important step and great to see the Service offering this fantastic series of internationally renowned programmes.
“I hope to see more women taking up the opportunity over the next three years and I am very happy to share my experiences of this course to those who are thinking about taking part”.
AF&RS currently has 130 women (15%) working across the organisation, with 27 wholetime firefighters (5.6%), 69 support staff (51.1%), 17 control staff (53.1%) and 12 on-call firefighters (6.9%).
Liz Marchant, Learning & Development Organisational Development Manager for AF&RS, added: “As a Service, we have been searching for a new way to empower our female staff and help them to reach their maximum potential.
“The Springboard programme supports women across the Service to reassess where they are in their personal and work lives, and ensure they get the most out of both.
“These courses are about building confidence, assertiveness and a positive image.
“They are for all staff ranging from those in the early stages of their careers, all the way through to those in a senior leadership role.
“We are delighted to be working with the Police on this and hope all of our female staff will reap the benefits, making the Service stronger.”
A&S Police has been delivering this programme to its female staff for several years now and it has proved to be extremely successful.
Michele Hurst, Springboard Trainer, ASP, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Fire Service on Springboard.
"We believe women in both organisations face similar challenges and we are excited to have the opportunity to work with women across the two organisations and give them an opportunity to take part in a development programme that will enhance their professional and personal skills.”