story 6 March 2024

Gold Award holder Ffion hopes to encourage more females to join the fire service this International Women’s Day

Ffion standing on the steps of Buckingham Palace gardens in front of a crowd of young people and their parents. She is wearing her fire service uniform and looking directly at the camera.

This International Women’s Day we are celebrating the incredible contributions and achievements of women. At the DofE we believe in young people and we’re passionate about creating a world that’s more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

As stated by the UN: ‘Investing in women and championing gender equality turbocharges a future where everyone in society can thrive, creating a world of boundless opportunity and empowerment for all.’

One woman inspiring us is 20-year-old Gold Award holder Ffion, who has achieved outstanding things and is using her experiences to inspire others. Ffion is now a part-time firefighter, having joined the fire service while juggling her Gold DofE. She has since gone on to speak to over 2,000 young people at our 2023 Gold Award Celebration.

Read her story.

“When I started my public services course in college, I was dead set on going into the navy specialising in mine clearance driving or being a medic. It wasn’t until one of our tutors who was an on-call firefighter took us down to the station and showed us the equipment, that I really saw myself doing something different.

“I’m now part-time in the fire service alongside doing my health and safety apprenticeship, but I hope to be full time one day – it’s my dream job. I’m on call quite a lot but I love the rush of adrenaline when my pager goes off. Every call is different, so every day is different. I have definitely bought the skills I learnt through my DofE, I was used to working quite independently, but since my Gold I have become so much better and more effective working as a team. I joined the fire service in March and completed my expedition in July.

“I think more females need to be encouraged to join the fire service, I’m lucky there’s another girl who’s a similar age to me, as well as my station manager, but I think only 7% of firefighters are female. It was hard at the beginning – I’m used to being with boys, but you have your doubts about whether you’re strong enough, you feel like you need to prove yourself. It’s hard work and you’ve got to constantly practice while maintaining a good level of fitness. But mindsets are changing and it’s great to see more and more females join. I love it when people come up to me and ask about my job – it’s particularly uplifting when I hear about other females in my community who want to join. I like seeing the community come together and I’m proud of my part in this – I’m always happy to give advice to others considering joining the fire service.”

Read Ffion’s full speech from the 2023 Gold Award celebration event.

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