Raising the profile of women in engineering
Holly has worked in the building engineering sector since 2018 and has progressed quickly to the important role of mechanical estimator at CMB Engineering – the 25-year-old building services contractor based in Cardiff.
She particularly enjoys being involved in projects from the very start, at early tender stage, and then seeing her work as it is developed through the design process and on to construction.
“I find the whole process really rewarding and you would be amazed how much work is needed in the early stages of a project to ensure everything has been accounted for. This has enabled me to gain valuable skills such as learning how to use technical software applications to formulate a tender proposal for submission to clients,” she says.
She visits the sites; reviews drawings and other technical information; and communicates with the contractors to make sure everything is in place before work begins. There is a fair bit of pressure because often projects fall on similar return dates so her organisational skills are crucial.
“Folders for tender packs contain a lot of detailed information, which needs proper analysis. This means I have to be self-disciplined and motivated to ensure that projects are submitted on time for review, and are of consistent quality,” explains Holly.
“Being a woman in this industry is a positive.”
So, what about being one of the few women working in this type of technical role in the building engineering industry? Holly says that, on the whole, it has proved to be a positive thing.
“The company I work for have been great in providing me with the necessary tools I need to complete my job and have been incredibly supportive in helping me gain valuable skills and experience,” she says. “On the rare occasions when I feel that my gender has been seen as an issue, that has made me more motivated to gain further experience and knowledge so that I can be even more confident in my role.”
She believes other women should be encouraged to enter the industry and tells them to go for it and not be afraid of making mistakes. “Accept that there will be new challenges along the way, but look at the bigger picture as it can be incredibly rewarding.
“Above all, don’t look at gender as being an obstacle.”
Getting a good mix of practical experience as well as academic education is also important, she believes, and urges young women to consider all of the many possible roles in the industry so they can find one that suits them.
“Be open to learning new skills along the way. If you have a small interest in the industry, push yourself to gain experience to see if it is a career you’d like to pursue.”
That is why profile raising initiatives like INWED20 are important, according to Holly, because they demonstrate to women that jobs and professions, which they might not have considered or felt confident enough to apply for, can be right for them.
She also praised BESA for its role in raising awareness and showing women that working in this field can be interesting and rewarding.