Beth Curran, 24, joined West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) in February 2021 during the Covid pandemic. Working from home as an Administrator she is now a Partnerships and Vulnerability Support Officer in Prevention. Beth attended the WFS National Training and Development Event in June 2022 for the first-time.
She was encouraged to attend by her mother Gail, who also works for West Midlands Fire Service in Prevention. Since attending the WFS training event she has become a WFS Individual Member.
“Joining the WFS event was extremely rewarding for me personally as it pushed me out of my comfort zone and has helped since with my confidence immensely. As a neurodiverse individual, I often have anxieties around attending social events with people who I don’t know.
Naturally I would have avoided such a large event like this. In reality, being at the event and networking with so many friendly, strong and inspirational women boosted my self-confidence. It also improved my mental wellbeing, and reset my way of thinking. This, in turn, has been reflected in my current role in the Fire Service and I believe it has helped me with my development and progression within the Service.”
Delegates have the opportunity to choose three workshops from a wide range on offer to suit all roles and levels within the Service. Looking back at the workshops she took part in, Beth said: “My first workshop was Abseiling, then Drive an Appliance, and finally, Fire Investigation. Abseiling as my first workshop was a ‘light bulb’ moment and set the expectation for the rest of my workshops.
Any anxieties around being in a group with unfamiliar faces disappeared. I was with a fantastic group of women, and we formed an incredible support system for each other – working together with enthusiasm if anyone felt they were unable to complete the abseil. From this support, the whole group managed to complete it. We set up a WhatsApp group to share pictures of the workshop and we still all speak together today.”
“Two of the women who I really bonded with in the group then joined me for Drive an Appliance. Another fantastic workshop where we all rallied to make sure we had the best experience and supported each other. This was helped by us starting with the hardest task first, driving blindfolded! This workshop provided me with a lesson in giving and listening to clear instructions whilst trusting other team members. And of course, I got to drive a ‘neenah’ as my mom would put it!”
“Finally, the Fire Investigation workshop was fascinating as it’s something I have always been interested in. The workshop left me wanting to learn more and investigate any potential opportunities that could be explored for a non-operational member of staff.”
“Having my mom with me gave me the security I felt I needed to attend the WFS training event. I soon realised that she was right all along, as I thoroughly enjoyed myself and would feel comfortable to attend again alone. Although we have two very different personalities we get on well, and it was nice to have an opportunity to have fun and spend time together.”
“The main thing I could say to someone thinking of going, would be to be brave and have courage. It can be overwhelming when you first arrive, but having a bit of courage to get stuck in really helps. You soon realise it’s not as scary as you thought it would be! It is a fantastic opportunity to try different things, meet new and sometimes like minded people, and develop and build on your own confidence.”
“I look forward to hopefully having the opportunity to attend again, see some familiar faces and meet new ones! And of course… thank you to my mom for supporting me and shaping me into the woman I am today.”
You can support WFS like Beth and join as an Individual Member here.
Discover the range of workshops available at this year’s WFS event here.