IWD 2022: Jade Betts on working in security

Today marks International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias, encouraging us all to consider how we can collectively contribute to a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes and discriminations.

Jade Betts is a supervisor within the QE Facilities security team, and here she shares more about her career journey and what it’s like working in what is a typically male-dominated occupation.

“I believe it’s hugely important to celebrate International Women’s Day. We have struggled for a long time to live in a man’s world. But in this day and age, we consistently show that we can do what have historically or stereotypically been seen as jobs for men.

“After working as in the security team as a facilities officer, I was very recently promoted into the role of supervisor here at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. It’s an area which is very much male-dominated, and you’d be correct in thinking that there’s still a stigma around being a woman in a security role. People will think ‘can she defender herself?’ and ‘can she do a ‘man’s job’?

“Of course, the answer to this question is yes, we can. The key to being successful in any role is having the strength, ability, dedication and passion for the role – and provided you have those things, I’d always say you should go for it! I strongly believe that if you wish to achieve something in life, you shouldn’t let anything or anyone stop you, get in your way or drag you down.

“When Covid-19 hit I had been working in the hospitality sector for 17 years. The sector came crashing down when we went into lockdown, and I was left looking for a new career path. I saw an advertisement for a security role at the hospital and I thought to myself, ‘let’s give it a go!’. I got the position and thought ‘this is amazing’, but I very quickly began to question how prepared I actually was for the role having witnessed some really challenging scenarios.

“But as time passed, my confidence grew, and these experiences taught me the nature of the job. It’s not only a physical role as some might assume either. Most of our incidents involve simply speaking to our patients, listening to them, understanding their problems, getting a full picture of the challenge and working with them to solve a problem.

“I will never say it’s easy to work in a typically male-dominated role, and in fact I can be far from it. But teamwork and looking after each other are crucial in overcoming challenges, and that is exactly how I’ve found our security team operates here.

“The experiences I’ve had coupled with that environment within the security team has helped to grow my love for the role, and recently I felt as though I was ready to take the next step in my career. The promotion to a supervisory position felt like recognition that the Trust see this too, and I’m excited for my future within the NHS.

“If I can inspire a few women along the way by sharing my journey and help reassure them that they can grow and thrive within typically male-dominated roles during that time, I’ll be delighted!”

The Trust would like to thank Jade for her fantastic blog contribution and congratulate her on her recent promotion. Those looking to see more can also view our other International Women’s Day 2022 blog post contribution from surgical cancer lead, Nithya Ratnavelu.

You can also see more by following us on Twitter @HWBGateshead, or tune in to episode one of the North East and North Cumbria ICB’s International Women’s Day roundtable podcast, featuring our chief executive Yvonne Ormston.