Digging deep for diversity

November 23, 2017
  • Diversity and inclusion

Building pathways for others to follow

A group of eight women engineers are taking on the complex and challenging tunnelling works at the WestConnex New M5 project, and providing positive diversity role models for the project team.

The engineers are working at tunnelling sites across the New M5, with positions ranging from undergraduate roles to management and leadership positions.

A Women in Non-Traditional Roles (WINTR) initiative has been established to encourage more women to join the construction industry and to provide active networking opportunities for women at the project.

In addition to our engineers, women are filling a wide range of roles on the New M5, in disciplines including safety, environment and community relations.

Project Engineer Sharlott Misra, who is based at the Bexley tunnel site, said the complex technical environment of a major tunnelling project was an appealing challenge for engineers.

“Tunnelling involves all of the complexities of civil engineering construction but with more constraints posed by the conditions of working underground,” she said.

Bexley Foreman Fred Hill said team diversity and the skills brought by women were positive outcomes for the project and the industry.

“I enjoy working with the women engineers on our team as they contribute strong communication and planning skills,” he said. “It is an important outcome that we are seeing a growing number of women who are interested in tunnelling and other industry sectors, and that we support them in their endeavours.”

WINTR aims to build networks for women in non-traditional roles, raise the profile of women on projects, and help retain and grow the number of women in technical and leadership positions.

CPB Contractors is working with Roads and Maritime Services to design and construct Sydney’s $4.3 billion New M5 Motorway in a joint venture with Dragados and Samsung C&T.

The project will deliver approximately 9km of new tunnels, motorway-to-motorway connections to the King Georges Road Interchange Upgrade at Beverly Hills and a new interchange at St Peters.

Major works commenced in mid‐2016 and the New M5 is scheduled to open to traffic in late 2019.

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