This week we celebrate International Women in Engineering Day.
International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) is an international awareness campaign to raise the profile of women in engineering and focus attention on the range of career opportunities available to girls in the industry.
It celebrates the outstanding achievements of women engineers throughout the world.
INWED is also an important opportunity to raise awareness around a common problem: women engineers are desperately needed, but they are still vastly under-represented in their professions with very few women within these roles.
Now has never been more important to address the engineering skills shortage and together play our part in encouraging women to consider a career in engineering.
As a business, we are proud to play our part in cutting through conceptions of gender bias, promoting diversity and empowering women to believe there are no barriers to achieving their ambitions and goals.
We spoke to four of our female engineers working in the various divisions at Van Elle to find out about their experiences of working in engineering, how we can encourage more women to join the industry, what inspired them to join the industry and what advice they’d give to the young engineers of the future. First this week is Claire Garrett, Ground Improvement Director.
Claire Garrett, Ground Improvement Director
As Van Elle’s Ground Improvement Director, Claire oversees our ground improvement team who help to deliver a range of ground improvement techniques including vibro stone columns and rigid inclusions.
How can we encourage or inspire more women to join the industry?
We need more visible female role models in all areas of construction and at all levels. We also need to consider how to make the industry more flexible for women who wish to progress their career while having a family. Unconscious bias is also still a huge issue in our industry, so we must do more work to identify areas in which women are discriminated against and change them.
What do you think are the barriers preventing women from joining the industry?
The lack of visible women on recruitment materials stops potential young women from visualising themselves in this industry and considering applying.
Also, traditional stereotypes of construction as a man’s industry persist in our society which holds back women from applying.
If you could give your younger self a piece of career advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself to gain experience in as many different areas as possible and not to be afraid to take risks or embrace challenges. I would also tell myself to know my own worth and stand up for myself and have confidence in my decisions. I would encourage my younger self to seek out a mentor and to learn from more experienced colleagues in order to pass on knowledge.
How has the industry changed?
There is definitely more respect for women in the workplace in our industry, and more women being recognised for their achievements. However, women still make up less than 10% of the workforce so there is much more work to be done!
Visit our careers page for more information on Van Elle opportunities.