As part of International Women’s Day (Sunday 8 March) we’re reflecting on the work we’re committed to doing to create a more gender-equal company. We know the value that comes from having a variety of backgrounds, skills and perspectives and we’re working to build a workforce that reflects our customers and communities where everyone, regardless of difference, is valued, respected and encouraged to do their best.
We’re looking at ways we can level the playing field for women interested in joining and progressing with us. One of the ways we’re trying to achieve this is through the introduction of women’s development programmes.
A new development programme will be piloted in our Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aldershot and Solent depots in the coming months. The Operational Insights programme has been designed to help address our gender imbalance by giving female colleagues the opportunity to increase their exposure to our operational workstreams. The programme will provide colleagues who are interested in pursuing a career in Operations the chance to spend time with a number of different operational teams.
Kevin MacDonald, General Manager at our Glasgow depot, said “It’s no secret we have a predominantly male workforce – this is particularly evident in Operations where we have small numbers of women in the field and in management positions. We’re excited for the opportunity to take part in the pilot and hope it will result in greater gender diversity within our Operational teams."
The programme will last for six months and will kick off with training in gas Safety Health and Environmental Awareness (SHEA), fire safety and first aid. Once training is complete, participants will follow a structured programme of job shadowing and will ultimately spend time with our maintenance, emergency, repair, replacement and connections teams.
Our Admin Assistant Shamila Rashid will be taking part in the pilot and said: “I’m really looking forward to starting the programme. I’ve worked in the gas industry for over 20 years now, mostly in admin positions, but I’ve always had an interest in a more hands-on role. I’m keen to explore which Operational roles align with my strengths and interests and learning more about the network.”
We’re also pleased to announce two further intakes for our RISE development programme in 2020/21. The programme focuses on helping women to develop their confidence, respond assertively to difficult situations, and start to develop their leadership style.
Jim Reavey, Talent Manager, said: “We've received excellent feedback from the first cohort of RISE participants about how the course has given them the tools and techniques to help them achieve their full potential. We're committed to investing in our people and are pleased to be able to run two further programmes again this year.”
Project Manager Louisa Fisher shared her experience of taking part in the programme: “Since joining in 2017 I’ve always been really impressed with the investment in my personal and professional development. Recently, I was invited to take part in the RISE programme which gave me the opportunity to develop my confidence, leadership skills and build a network of valuable business contacts.”
In the coming months, a further 15 colleagues from across the business will take part in the programme.