Added 30 Aug 2022
Last updated 15 Nov 2022

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In 2022, IPAF President Karin Nars launched the 'Women in Powered Access' initiative, inviting women of all ages and different professional roles to share their stories of inclusivity. The initiative includes 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. 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. IPAF will share a series of case studies at  www.ipaf.org/casestudy to communicate the opportunities our industry offers women. 

Kate Bell Kate Bell - WiPA
Head of UK Training, Nationwide Platforms, UK

What is your role in powered access? I lead both the Training and Development side of the powered access industry. My role is the Head of UK Training for Nationwide Platforms. 

How did you come into this industry and what attracted you to it? I joined a hire company 18 years ago in a telesales role which serviced the construction industry.  I was given an opportunity to work as Sales Manager for the customer training division and my career progressed from there. I was never phased that most employees within the industry were male, I was brought up with two older brothers and some of my closest friends are boys.  However, my first manager was female & a mum like me, she was and still is a great inspiration and mentor.   

What I love about this industry are the hard-working people that you meet & the challenges we face, no two days are ever the same.  I get to play a part in assisting our customers from personal & professional development through to fulfilment and completion of a project - with safety being paramount to all, so everyone goes home safe to their families and loved ones at the end of each day. 

What do you find inspiring about your role? The customers we work with are fantastic, really safety conscientious due to the high-risk working environments and more often than not, they are working within tight constraints of a project, this creates agile and innovative thinking which in turn inspires me.  In addition, I am extremely fortunate to work for the UK’s market leader and alongside industry experts, my colleagues inspire me daily with their shared knowledge & enthusiasm. 

Where do you see yourself in five years and what do you want to achieve?  We are working on a few initiatives at present, such as, our trainee instructor programme.  The purpose of this is to attract more people to choose instructing as a career path and allows our current experts to pass on their knowledge, ensuring continuity within the industry for all future operatives. I am excited to see our schemes delivered to market and in five years, we can look back at the positive impact this has on the next generation of instructors & operatives. 

What one piece of advice would you give to other women in/thinking of entering the industry? If you are thinking about joining the industry and are looking for a diverse, challenging & rewarding career, do it!   

For those that are already within the industry and are wanting to progress their career further – Set yourself some goals, arrange a structured feedback session with your line manager, don’t be afraid to ask what YOU need to do to progress those goals; self-awareness and the willingness to evolve is key.  If there is a role that has your interest, or if there is someone within your organisation that you are inspired by, request a mentor or taster session. 

But always BE YOURSELF, Stay focussed and be inspired!  Gender should not determine your success, only YOU can do that!