National Careers Week: “I’m really looking forward to what the future holds”

At OFR, we’re dedicated to investing in the future, whether it’s through cutting-edge technologies, ground-breaking innovations, or, as highlighted in this article, our exceptional team members.

Today, as we continue our focus on National Careers Week, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Christine Leigh. An associate based at our Manchester office, Christine tells us more about her role, her journey to associate and what keeps her passion burning for fire engineering… 

I think I was destined for a career in fire engineering – something that grasped my attention from an early age thanks to an eye for detail and a curious mind! Fast forward to today and I’m a Chartered Building Engineer with two decades experience in construction and fire safety supplemented by a background in Building Control.  

My role at OFR

OFR has been my place of work for almost three years, and I enjoy bringing my experience into my role – it’s broad, and diverse and I’ve dealt with a wide array of project types and building uses. My day-to-day workload is so varied – from expert witness appointments on fire safety construction defects, to leading a one-billion-pound new prison scheme and everything in between!

I love my job – having a role where you can positively contribute to and enhance project outcomes by ultimately improving our built environment and peoples’ lives, is so fulfilling. 

The parenting juggle 

It’s not always been this way though, and engineering and motherhood don’t always go hand in hand. One of the biggest challenges in my early career was trying to strike a fine balance of work and family time when my children were babies. I sometimes felt like I had done a day’s work before I had even made a start, and looking back I think I may have done things differently. Although I do believe the industry becomes more flexible for parents year-on-year – which is much-needed. 

It’s definitely the case at OFR, where flexibility and an understanding of families helps me balance my life as I wish, having a career and being a present mother. 

The flexibility afforded to me by OFR not only allows me to excel in my professional duties but also provides the space for personal growth. I’ve always been driven to expand my expertise through continuous learning and networking with like-minded peers, and I’m grateful for OFR’s support in this endeavour. 

That includes my role as Board Director at the Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE), leveraging my extensive experience as Chair of the North West region of CABE for over eight years. What a role that is, allowing me to represent CABE as a regional member of the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and advocate for knowledge sharing and industry-wide progress. Engaging in volunteer roles within CABE has not only sharpened my soft skills but has also facilitated professional growth and expanded my network, reinforcing my commitment to driving positive change within the industry.

My future in fire engineering 

With so much opportunity, I’m really looking forward to what mine and my colleagues’ careers hold. On a macro level, I aspire to play an active role in steering our industry towards positive change and fostering a culture of innovation, all while contributing to knowledge sharing that shapes the future of our field.

Within OFR, I am committed to leveraging my experience to mentor the next generation. The wealth of talent within our organisation, including remarkable graduates, fuels my enthusiasm for the future. As we embark on this journey, I am thrilled to be part of OFR’s evolution and to contribute to the ongoing progress of our industry as a whole.

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Christine Leigh

Principal Fire Engineer

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