The EUREKA conference 2019 was held on 11 and 12 June in Bruges, Belgium, headed "How can the HVAC-R industry contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals?". One of the most important issues was that none of the sustainable development goals can be achieved if the industry does not have enough competent professionals.

Stig Rath, Treasurer in AREA - The Voice of European Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Contractors represented the European refrigeration and heat pump contractors, but used the experiences from the job as Technical director Refrigeration in VKE to talk about how the male-dominated refrigeration industry can attract female applicants . While the other three panelists were keen to see more women in project, sales and top management, as well as fairs and conferences, Rath focused on the fact that most of the industry needs are more refrigeration technicians.

"It's not easy to get girls in their 16s to choose untraditionally, this is a period of life when being feminine and not stand out is strong. If they choose an untraditional workforce profession, the meeting with working life will also come much earlier than for women who go for higher education", says Rath.

He states that women must feel welcome and including whether the industry should be attractive.

"An increased proportion of women must be anchored in the board and top management," he says, - it must be visible in everything from a women's toilet and the absence of nude calendars to inclusive attitudes among men, that the company wants women. And often consider employing two and two women, so they do not become so extremely visible and alone."

"It's also something to remember that gender-balanced jobs score highest on well-being," Rath states, adding that young men have said they don't want to work in the refrigeration industry because here are only men."


Photo: Panel participants Stig Rath and Paola De Troia, Media Relations Manager at CAREL INDUSTRIES S.p.A. debated how one can achieve gender balance in the refrigeration and heat pump industry.