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29 August 2014
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Farha leads the way in a man's world


An international student has become the first female fire engineer in the Gulf as she completes her studies in Preston...


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Farha Yahya Salim Al-Namaani from Muscat, in Oman, began her training two years ago at the Oman Fire Safety Engineering College (FSEC) and completed a two month Health and Safety Engineering course at the Oman Refining Oil Company. She has now come to the University of Central Lancashire for one year to complete the BSc (Hons) Fire Safety Engineering course.

Farha explained her unusually career choice: "I saw a lot of women in Oman were choosing to further their studies in computing and IT. I felt I would stand a better chance of getting a job in a totally different field, especially as fire engineering was something a woman had never done before. I suppose I wanted to do something more exciting that would really challenge me.

"Nobody in my family has ever done this before. My parents have been very supportive, although it is my husband who has really encouraged me. If I felt as if I couldn't go on he would push me and tell me I could achieve it."

Farha has had to leave her two daughters, Malak aged two and Ethar aged one, at home in Muscat with their father in order to complete her studies at UCLan. She said: "I really miss my family but I amambitious and want to complete my studies. I am going home to see themat Christmas".

In Oman, Farha has done everything in her training that the men do. She wears the blue and yellow uniform with white stripes and uses similar equipment to that of British firefighters. Farha remembers: "At first the men were sceptical. They thought there was no way I would be able to do it, but now they know I can and have a lot of respect for me. We have become good friends."

She added: "I don't think I will be afraid of my first real fire when it happens. I feel that by the time I have completed my training I will be ready for the job. I think it will be exciting."

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