Harriet Murray Jones, Carrie Davies and Steph Atkins joined the District Heating Divas at their annual conference on 6th June. The event, co-sponsored by Bevan Brittan, was attended by around 200 people, and brought together women and other under-represented groups alongside allies to discuss challenges and opportunities in the district heating sector.
As well as an opportunity to meet friends and contacts in person, the conference provided a fun and supportive environment in which to make new contacts and learn more about the many opportunities (and some challenges!) in the UK’s growing heat network sector.
Carrie Davies (who helps coordinate the Divas’ Midlands Chapter) briefed participants on the “Essentials of Heat Network Legals and Contracts”, in a session designed to support those new to the sector. Attendees also discussed decarbonisation and heat network zoning.
There was an opportunity to learn about the Heat Exchanger Mentoring Programme which is open to anyone working in the heat networks sector, and which aims to connect mentors and mentees to support their professional development, providing a platform for fostering growth and advancement throughout the UK heat network sector.
In addition to technical discussions, the Divas also considered approaches to equality, diversity and inclusion and ways of supporting and empowering colleagues and peers in balancing the challenges of combining personal and professional lives.
The conference concluded with a focus on how the UK can progress to delivering 18% of its heat demand through heat networks by 2050 (in line with Climate Change Committee recommendations). The Divas manifesto focuses on raising the profile of the heat network sector and making it an attractive career option open to a diverse workforce, which will be key components of achieving this goal.
“We are delighted to have sponsored Connecting Women in District Heat – the District Heating Divas’ approach to equality, diversity and inclusion aligns with our own. We are committed to achieving an environment where all of our people feel comfortable being themselves, and feel valued for who they are”.
Speaking after the conference Carrie Davies added:
“The Divas has been a great support to me both personally and professionally and it has been a real pleasure to meet so many like-minded, professional, highly-skilled people and share our visions for the future of the heat network sector”.