Combining their passion for making a difference with their Justice degrees, three QUT students share their experiences that have become the foundation for vastly different career aspirations.
Young Multiplex professionals working on Queensland's largest construction project, Queen's Wharf Brisbane, are inspiring female students to take up a construction career.
With the goal of boosting the female participation rate within the industry, which currently sits at just 11 per cent, the National Association for Women in Construction (NAWIC) in partnership with QUT will host an inspirational session during National Science Week.
The group of young and diverse Multiplex professionals will present an interactive webinar on 20 August to discuss what goes in to constructing a world-class precinct, and what roles young women can aspire to as part of as a project team.
This is the second webinar session hosted by NAWIC and QUT, with the first held in May, following a shift to online events in response to COVID-19.
Rae Eastern, a Quantity Surveying and Heavy Engineering student at QUT and panelist in the May webinar, said the event was a great way for young women, particularly high school students, to consider a career in construction.
“The webinar had a really good mix of professionals from different construction career pathways so it offered good, broad insights,” Ms Eastern said.
“This is a really great experience for students because there just aren’t a lot of opportunities to learn about the construction industry in high school, let alone talk directly with people in the field.
“I think there is a misconception amongst young women that working in construction means being on the tools all day and, while that’s true for some trades, there are other roles that offer a mix of field and office work, and some jobs that are purely office based, like project management.
“Construction is a huge industry and is one of the biggest employers in some areas across Queensland, yet there’s still a lack of female enrolment in construction-related courses at university, and we want to change that.”
Ms Eastern, who is a NAWIC 2019 scholarship recipient, said the webinars present the opportunity to speak with both students and professionals who are already working in the industry.
“The webinar in May was really well received and was led by a panel of current and past students from different construction degrees as well as industry professionals,” she said.
“As an undergraduate student, my role in the webinar was to talk about how I chose my degree and what students can expect at university.
“Being involved in the webinar is a great confidence builder for students who can see how other people have started their careers and what they have been able to achieve, and realise that’s possible for them too.
“The webinar is also useful for students already studying construction at university who want to network, or those who are having a bit of a break and re-considering out what they want to do.”
Dr Fiona Lamari, lecturer in construction project management at QUT and the NAWIC Queensland Chapter’s Education and Mentoring Committee Chair, said webinars were the next step in engaging a broader audience of female students considering a career in construction.
“Because this is an online event, students can join from anywhere in Australia. My hope is to get the message out to young women in regional areas who may not have had as much exposure to the construction industry as students who have grown up in larger cities,” she said.
“Our first webinar focused on a broad view of the construction industry and, for our August webinar, we’re excited to dive further into the industry by highlighting the various roles involved in a single project.
“There are really no barriers for women entering the construction workforce. I think the lower level of engagement at this stage is because women don’t often have construction at the top of their mind when considering a career, so we need to have more conversations about all the different opportunities available to them if they do choose this path.
“Construction is so multi-faceted that there are roles to suit all types of individuals with different skill sets.
“It’s an enriching, rewarding industry to be involved in, because you are always part of creating something.”
The NAWIC QLD Career Webinar series is part of the STEM Choice in Female High-School Students: In-School Experience Outreach Initiative, supported by an Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grant provided by the Queensland Government.
Read more and register for August’s Career Webinar: Constructing Brisbane’s Landmark Project
Watch a recording of the May Career Webinar.
You can find out more about NAWIC membership and events on its website.
Visit the QUT website for more information about its Bachelor of Urban Development (Honours).
Sheree Breust or Taylah Robinson: 0421 429 716 or 0432 278 456.
QUT's Young Accelerators program offers on-campus curriculum-mapped STEM workshops, events and teacher professional development sessions that aim to excite and inspire learning by combining STEM with creative learning and entrepreneurship.