Encouraging Young Woman To Try a Career In Engineering

Darren Scott

February 23, 2017

Introduce a Girl to Engineering is a worldwide campaign held in conjunction with Engineers Week to encourage young women to consider a route into engineering and inspire the next generation of great innovators and problem solvers.

With this in mind, we sat down with some of our female contractors to discuss the opportunities available for women in the construction industry.

Gemma  Borley
Section Engineer at Hinkley Point

What first inspired you in choosing a career in the construction industry?

The opportunity to work across the world on a number of large-scale projects, I enjoy seeing our efforts making a real difference and recognising the importance in each individual contribution.

Are there any misconceptions about working in the construction industry?

It is pleasing to see more women are becoming involved in the construction industry. More female graduates are joining and we have several on our team making a real difference to the project. You have to be confident as it still is a predominantly male environment, but there is certainly becoming less and less stigma.

What would you say to any young women on working in the construction industry?

That every role has a tangible impact on an overall project, for example without laying the foundations for a building,  you cannot progress, each role contributes to something larger and you enjoy greatly seeing the planning come to life.

Erin Cameron
Section Engineer – Crossrail

How did you first get involved in the construction industry?

Growing up I had a lot of people around me working in practical and hands-on roles, whether that be on farms or in trades. I really admired my auntie, who worked as a Land Surveyor, and my parents who worked in maths and engineering. I liked the idea of working outside as I never saw myself in a desk job. I wanted to travel through work, making a tangible difference on large scale projects. Combining this with an interest in maths and computing naturally led me to seek a career in engineering.

What has been the most enjoyable projects you have worked on so far?

Working on the Crossrail Project is definitely a highlight, working at the Paddington New Yard there were so many different elements to the role, there was also a real sense of camaraderie in the team which was great. Working on a site for fifty hours a week you get to know your colleagues and there was certainly good banter and humour, which helps you through busy periods on site.

Have you seen much of a change in the construction industry during your career so far?

On my first job working in Canada, I was the only female employee, which for some took some readjusting as my role initially involved reviewing and highlighting incorrect processes and procedures. I wasn’t fazed by any external pressures as I was focused on doing the best job I could. Now women in construction are much more prevalent, on my current team of nine, four are women and I see this increase continuing.

What would you advise to a young woman who may be interested in joining the construction industry?

I was fortunate to have a female mentor, who was the third woman to become a Chartered Land Surveyor in Victoria, Australia. I think seeking out information about the construction industry is important so that you can understand from people who have experienced these roles first hand. If you find that the construction industry is right for you then I would say simply to work hard and persevere, as you will achieve success if you put your mind to it.

If you want to know more about getting into the construction industry, the Women’s Engineering Society has information and advice that could help. Click here to browse our current vacancies at sites across the UK.