International Women's Day

This year’s #IWD2021 is about how we can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality and we can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements with the ultimate goal to create an inclusive world.

This year we're celebrating International Women's Day virtually, by shining a light on various operational roles occupied by our most inspiring female employees that keep our passengers and colleagues in a safe environment.

Don’t ever be deterred by gender stereotypes of certain industries. If you have your heart set on a role then with hard work and determination you can achieve anything

Rowan Underwood, Fire Safety Manager

My role is to manage Fire Safety across the whole Birmingham Airport site. I complete Fire Risk Assessments, implement policies and procedures and conduct regular inspections to check for fire safety compliance. I work closely with Engineering Service and BHX Fire and Rescue to implement effective inspection and maintenance regimes of all life safety systems, which includes the fire alarm, sprinkler systems, and the buildings fire integrity amongst other systems. I deliver training to employees who have additional fire safety responsibilities, assist and advise the Development Team on new building projects and conduct investigations into any fire-related events.

I completed a Business Studies sandwich degree. My year in industry as part of my degree was completed within a Health and Safety/Fire Safety team. My degree has helped with securing my various roles and I have then completed several professional qualifications during employment to progress within my career.

Don’t ever be deterred by gender stereotypes of certain industries. If you have your heart set on a role then with hard work and determination you can achieve anything. Some paths we choose to take may mean a long road to achieve the desired result, but always keep your mind focused and manifest your goals into reality. It’s also beneficial to take a leap outside of your comfort zone. You may find that in doing so you are presented with opportunities that you enjoy which you otherwise may never have considered.

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If you are looking for a dynamic and exciting environment, this is definitely it – no two days are ever the same!

Laura Whitby, Airfield Services Manager

I manage the activities of the Airfield Safety Unit, Ground Transportation and Grounds Maintenance Team to ensure the highest levels of safety and customer service is maintained for all passengers and staff.

My roles in the aviation industry have been varied. After originally starting my career within Terminal Services, I moved across to the Airfield Operations Team, undertaking roles including Fire & Operations Controller, Training, and Aerodrome Compliance. Specialised training has been undertaken across these roles which has enabled me to develop a broad understanding of Airport Operations as a whole.

If you are looking for a dynamic and exciting environment, this is definitely it – no two days are ever the same! Qualifications are not essential, a passion to learn and the ability within a regulated environment is all you need to get started.

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Air Traffic is such a rewarding job, and each day really is different! Yes it has the reputation of being stressful and, at times, it can be, but that is just like any profession.

Ellen Powell, Air Traffic Control Officer

The shift starts with a briefing on the day ahead. Each day is different whether it will be work on the airfield, Royal flights, bad weather, flying displays, closed airspace, or new procedures, we need to know what to expect before we start. From there we go and take over a control position. Controllers at Birmingham are trained to operate in the Visual Control Room at the top of the tower or the Radar Control Room down in the bowels. Depending on where we are needed depends on where we go. We control for a maximum of two hours and then we must have a 30-minute break, this is to ensure we remain fresh and focused each time we are plugged in. Our main role is to move the air traffic around safely and efficiently to get passengers away on time. 

I've always wanted to do air traffic control, I lived quite close to Coventry Airport growing up and that's where it started. At Birmingham there are two general Air Traffic Licences an Aerodrome Licence and a Radar Licence. The length of the course for these licences starts at about 3 months. Once you have your licence, then need to validate it at an Airport and you do this under training with another controller. This can take a minimum of 6 months and after this, you are allowed to control on your own. To ensure you remain a safe controller you are continually assessed and each year and have a practical and verbal assessment to ensure you are keeping up with the constantly adapting procedures. 

Air Traffic is such a rewarding job, and each day really is different! Yes, it has the reputation of being stressful and, at times, it can be, but that is just like any profession. You get to work closely with a great team of people and at the end of a busy day, you can't beat the satisfaction of moving all the traffic successfully. For anyone looking to get into ATC their first stop should be the NATS website (www.nats.aero

 

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