Sophie, who graduated in chemical engineering from Loughborough University, is excited to join the London Fire Brigade in the Fire Engineering team, 30 years after her dad joined.
“We finally got to wear the same uniform,” she said. “My Dad has been embarrassingly proud of me.”
Sophie and her dad Borough Commander John Simpson got to work for the Brigade for a week, after which John hung up his helmet and retired.
“Growing up I always saw my Dad rushing off at a moment’s notice to incidents,” Sophie said. “No matter how difficult or challenging it might have been at times, he was always keen to get into work. He loved his career in the Brigade. It’s a work ethic that inspired me and it certainly encouraged me to work somewhere that had made my Dad so happy.”
Sophie liked maths and science at school so a job in engineering was something she aspired to. Traditionally engineering has been a male dominated area but it didn’t put Sophie off applying.
“To see both the Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton and the Joint Head of Fire Engineering Group Lynsey Seal in their senior roles gave me confidence that it’s possible to work in this sector,” Sophie explains. “It also spoke volumes about the possibilities of climbing the career ladder – both of them just happen to be women.”
The Fire Engineering Group’s work is a crucial part of fire safety helping to protect the public and making buildings safe. As part of the Fire Safety Department they act as internal consultants to fire safety colleagues, and other departments within the Brigade, as well as providing advice and input on external technical groups and projects.
Sophie joined the Brigade in early November 2018 and has already started to encourage young people to consider engineering as a career option.
“It’s great to welcome Sophie to the team,” Lynsey Seal, Joint Head of Fire Engineering Group, said. “As well as being qualified engineers we are all trained fire safety officers. There is still work to do on encouraging more women to take up roles in engineering but I’m pleased that our team has almost 30% female engineers. Our team are involved in various projects to encourage greater diversity in the next generation of engineers.
“I’m thrilled that Sophie has already helped achieve this by visiting her primary school to inspire, educate and encourage all the pupils to consider engineering as a career option.”