Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and be confident in your abilities. Don’t give up when people challenge you.
Growing up, I simply wanted to be a civil engineer. As one may say, passion breeds when we are young and for me what first ignited my interest in construction would be the “wobbly bridge”. Questions I asked myself was so why did the London Millennium Bridge sway, was the tendency of pedestrians to synchronise their leg movement taken into consideration by engineers?
What lured me to this profession is the perception of improving the lives of people through the built environment. By continuously developing and upgrading the facilities and services of the public, it not only gives the engineer a sense of responsibility towards humanity but brings forth a sense of satisfaction that the work carried out by civil engineers contributes significantly to the well being of the society.
To me, being a woman of colour and working in the construction industry can be difficult at times. I do believe women have to be thick skinned to stand up and be counted for. The more people told me of the concerns they had with gender balance, the more it made me want to do it to prove that it is possible!
There is still much work to be done to fully include women in construction. Companies need to acknowledge and remove gender bias from their work culture, develop mentor ship programs specific to the needs of women and encourage more women to become role models to other women. Schools and educational programs need to highlight the value of construction jobs for women and young girls to ensure they can see the industry as a viable career path. With more and more inspirational strong women chipping away at gendered norms and leveling the playing field, the industry is taking bigger steps at becoming a more diverse and inclusive space for future generations.
What did you study at school/university?
I studied Civil Engineering with a placement year at Loughborough University.
What certifications are associated with your career if any?
I have DIS certification of working a year in the industry while undertaking my civil engineering degree at Loughborough university. I currently work as a graduate civil engineer with Graham Construction on the Crossrail project in London. I have done numerous training courses ranging from the Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme to Managing Suicidal Contact course by the Samaritans.
What advice do you have for someone looking to pursue this career path?
If you are pursuing a career in consultancy, you will be more involved in the design stage of a project and collaborating with architects and other professionals. Whereas having a career in contracting like myself, you would be making the drawings done by designers into reality. Civil engineers are the central figures in the community development and without their unique talents, communities would not grow and prosper. My advice to my new engineers in the making, civil engineering is an exciting and innovative industry to work in and you are constantly exposed to many scenarios which make you stronger as an individual and the learning never stops.