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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.
“Where I am now is where I also see myself in five years. I think I have a great job and that I am in the right position!”
SAFETY, HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT & QUALITY MANAGER AT RIWAL, NETHERLANDS
How did you come into the industry and what attracted you to it? As a child, I was attracted to traditional male professions. But that was not really accepted at the time. Even my mother was afraid of reactions from people around us. I went into social work, caring for people with mental health needs. After my training, I started working with people on the streets of The Hague, and later in juvenile detention centres, but I missed working with technology. I took the step to leave social work behind and I went to a friend who knows a lot of people in tech and was given the opportunity to start as in mechanical power transmission. I progressed from mechanic to workshop manager, but still had a desire to care for people. But how could I realise this wish? Almost four years ago, I was asked to apply for a job within the powered access business at Riwal. Of course, I couldn't say no to this! A little girl in the middle of big machines and tough men. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to work for Riwal.
What do you find inspiring about your role? Every day I feel grateful to be able to practise this profession, ensuring everyone can return home healthy at the end of the working day. Working at Riwal allows me to continue my dream of taking care of people and working in technology!
Where do you see yourself in five years, and what do you want to achieve? Where I am now is where I also see myself in five years. I think I have a great job and that I am in the right position. In my previous job, I traveled a lot to a lot of countries. Now is the time to be in one country and be with the people around me. I want to be close to the people I work with.
What advice would you give to other women in/thinking of entering the industry? I think the most important thing is that you know yourself well as a person. There is always someone who will try to bring you down and find your weakest point. But if you know your strengths and weaknesses very well, no-one out there can touch you. Be very self-assured. You have to be strong, but it's also good to show your weaknesses to the outside world instead of trying to hide them, because we all have them. So it's important to know yourself very well.