INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2018
When it comes to women working in construction, Goulburn-Murray Water’s Connections Project has bucked the trend this International Women’s Day.
The project employs more than three times the average number of women in its field in a workforce where females traditionally encompass a mere 12 per cent of construction workers.
In addition, the project’s senior leadership team is also made up of 40 per cent women.
On International Women’s Day, members of the team agreed working for the country’s biggest irrigation modernisation project was allowing them to further progress their career paths, while contributing to infrastructure development within their local communities.
Engagement officer Jane Barnes has worked for the project for about five years and said it provided an opportunity for her to continue working in her field of science and agriculture.
‘‘Engaging with so many wonderful people is one of my favourite parts of the job — every connections experience has been, and will continue to be, completely different,’’ Ms Barnes said.
Engineer Natalie Sharp joined the project three years ago as systems, risk and quality manager, after 15 years managing projects in the rural water industry.
She said the project had allowed her to follow her passion using practical maths and science to solve problems.
‘‘I have spent many years working on irrigation water savings investigations throughout Australia, undertaking studies and modelling that have underpinned significant government investment in irrigation modernisation, both on-farm and through the distribution networks,’’ she said.
‘‘I am proud that work I have undertaken has directly resulted in positive outcomes for productive irrigated agriculture and regional communities throughout Australia.
‘‘The Connections Project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to provide irrigation infrastructure upgrades that support productive agriculture that also result in greater efficiencies and water savings.’’
Brooke Gillies joined the project in late 2015 on the engagement team and says she’s been lucky to be able to broaden her skills by moving in the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) team.
‘‘I started to develop an interest in the planning side of things and what goes on behind the scenes which is what then drew me to the ECI role,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s great to see women filling management and leadership roles on the project.
‘‘I think there’s still a long way to go to even out the gender balance across the construction industry but I think it’s great that within the project there is an equal opportunity for everyone.’’