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Scotland’s only female airport fire manager calls on more women to follow in her foot steps

By Andrew Dixon

The only female airport fire manager in Scotland hopes to inspire other women to pursue a role in the service.

Andrea Macdonald is one of four female firefighters based at Inverness Airport.

Only a fraction of Scotland’s firefighters are women and a female-only recruitment event was held at Inverness Fire Station earlier this month as part of Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) latest recruitment campaign.

Andrea Macdonald is Scotland’s only female airport fire manager.
Andrea Macdonald is Scotland’s only female airport fire manager.

Ms Macdonald said: “I like to think that gender is less significant in this day and age, mindsets are changing.

“I can’t deny that it can be tough at times.

“My challenges have revolved around the fact I’m younger than many of the team I manage, which is sometimes wrongly interpreted as less experienced.

“After a period of two years as airport fire manager, I’ve found Highlands and Islands Airports Limited (Hial) incredibly supportive of me in a new role and I’m fortunate that I have a good working relationship with my colleagues and there’s camaraderie within the team”.

Hial, which operates Inverness Airport, provides firefighter training and advocates equal opportunities. The principle objectives of for the Hial fire service are is to save lives in the event of an aircraft accident or incident and to reduce damage to property and the environment.

Lorna Jack, Hial chairwoman, said: “There are many different opportunities within the aviation industry and women have an important role to play.”

The fire service’s recruitment drive is seeking up to 300 applicants to join the 3000-plus full-time firefighters across the country.

SFRS director of people and organisational development Liz Barnes said: “This is an exciting time and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the next generation into a Service that is seeking to do so more for the people of Scotland.”

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