Greater public awareness of the wide range of roles and industries impacted by the cooling sector is needed to create and benefit from a more diverse workforce, a range of industry specialists have argued.
The comments have been made to commemorate International Women’s Day (8 March) and highlight broader industry aspirations to attract a more diverse array of individuals from a range of different backgrounds to work in the cooling sector.
European Cooling Body AREA has compiled the experiences of a range of women working across in different roles across cooling to share their experiences and how industry can develop to attract a broader range of females to the sector.
A common theme of the responses is focused on increasing awareness on the often hidden role the cooling sector plays in underpinning vital functions of everyday life, most notably the buildings and supply chains that modern society relies on.
Laura Pulkki, a technical support specialist with Danfoss, argued that the refrigeration and cooling sector was a complex industry that required a range of skills. These ranged from engineering and problem serving abilities, to customer support and new ways of thinking about environmental challenges and energy supply.
She added that cooling offered a range of opportunities to work on a range of different scale projects around the world, particularly with the need for ultra-cold refrigeration to support the delivery of Covid-19 vaccinations.
Ms Pulkki added, “The different possibilities in refrigeration technology need to be promoted. While the first steps have been taken and women are rising into higher positions in companies, more women are needed in different positions to show the way for future talents.”
Efforts to expand the role of women in the industry, alongside increasing the representation of people from a different ethnic and economic backgrounds, should be seen as an important step to bring new ways of thinking about major problems facing the cooling sector, said Ms Pulkki.
She said, “Overall, people with different ages, backgrounds, education, genders are crucial in bringing different views and solutions to the table in addition to the old working ones. Diverse working environments and teams keep the spirit innovative and exciting.”
Susana Rodriguez, president of the Spanish refrigeration contractor’s body ASOFRIO, agreed that it was important to play up different examples of the roles women are already playing at different levels of the cooling industry.
One important focus would be to help expand awareness about the opportunities to pursue many different careers in cooling, while also challenging stereotypes about specific jobs roles. Education was a vital tool to do this, she said.
Ms Rodriguez argued that this education should look beyond just the issue of technical competence to include a range of different skills required in the industry.
She said, “In the industry there is space for all female professional profiles from boards of directors to human resources.”
Ms Rodriguez added, “I still think that we have to teach, tell, show the work of each one of us to girls, young people, and women so that they can see the need that the industry has for their talent.”