Celebrating our female colleagues
Our teams are innovators. On a project such as High Speed 2, innovating, problem solving and challenging the ‘norm’ are attributes which are embedded. From section engineers to designers and quantity surveyors, every woman in our team counts.
For this year’s International Women in Engineering Day, we celebrate all the women within our organisation and hear from a few inspiring people delivering HS2 and the interesting scope of works they are driving forward.
Gemma Teale, Agent
“The great thing about a project like this is the size and the timeframe, as you can grow your career within the project lifecycle.”
“Before I started with EKFB, I worked on the Heathrow Airport project.
I’m now assigned to the Aylesbury Area of works on HS2 and I am responsible for the construction of 1.8km of realigned Network Rail railway, including an intersection bridge which HS2 will pass under in a ‘cutting’. I manage a team of engineers, and our subcontractors doing the work.
I’ve always been interested in managing construction works and working on site, and I love working with people and solving problems. The best part of my job is managing a highly committed and talented team.
My advice to others considering a career in engineering or construction is to research the work and project; how will you be filling your days and is it something you will enjoy and feel passionate about. There are challenges for women in this industry still, and while we are working to change that it’s a gradual process. But if you find something you can really enjoy, and there is so much to enjoy in a project like this, then the challenges are less important.”
“The sky is the limit and I want to maximise my potential and I enjoy the challenges associated with major projects.”
“My previous role in engineering was working on the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme which gave me great skills and experience to take forward into my next role
My next move was into I was interested in working on HS2 because it’s a flagship project of monumental scale, and I would encourage others to look into career opportunities on this project.
As part of my role, I deliver a package of works with a team of engineers to a high standard within a stringent time scale and budget. Managing a team of engineers to deliver a package of works to the highest standard. This includes 7km of earthworks, a highway realignment and a multitude of temporary works to enable the construction of the permanent works. Challenging but rewarding, wrapped into one!
I enjoy the challenges of the construction industry but also the challenges associated with breaking gender stereotypes. It’s a challenge in itself which also has its rewards.”
Sophie Henderson, Sub-Agent
“My main enjoyment comes from the people I work with. My role allows me access to those people who inspire me including the other females in the team.”
“I studied for a degree in English and History before entering into the construction industry I’ve held various roles with Carillion and Kier and studied for a Masters in Quantity Surveying while on the Kier Graduate Scheme.
When I started in the construction industry, it was meant to be a summer job initially. But the opportunity came along, and I took the chance to learn something brand new.
I joined the HS2 project six years ago and I hadn’t heard of HS2 before I joined the project but so far, it has been a good driver in helping me navigate my career choices and the opportunities to grow are great.
It’s a fast-paced career, which I love, and it's interesting work. It’s not somewhere I thought I’d end up - construction was a nice u-turn.
Looking back, a role as a QS never came up at school so I chose to find out more about my role, speak to my informal mentors and project managers to help guide my decisions. I’m inspired by other females in the organisation.
At EKFB, I’m responsible for paying our subcontractors for the works provided or supplied, ensuring payments are on time and on budget. Cost monitoring and assisting in progress reporting is part of my remit. Managing the relationships with HS2 and supply chain is also an important part of the role - building relationships is imperative. I advocate for openness and transparency in my role – we’re one team with a common goal and that’s what makes this project so unique.
I love going out on to site to see it all come together in real life. I initially started my EKFB job during Covid, so seeing it come together on site gives me a huge sense of achievement.”
“Just focus on yourself and what interests you. Don’t worry about what other people say and think. It is important to focus on the things that you enjoy and the things you do well.”
“Before I joined EKFB, I was undertaking a design secondment at Tony Gee, and prior to that I was a design delivery manager working on the Network Rail CP6 Structures renewal framework at Bam Nuttall.
Having worked on existing railway infrastructure in the past, I wanted the opportunity to work on a brand-new railway.
Since starting as a graduate, the railway and structures have always been of interest. HS2 is a great opportunity to combine them both.
My role at EKFB as a design programme manager can vary significantly from day to day. I work on strategies and initiatives to support the delivery of the design packages across the route. Even getting involved and delivering some packages myself.
I work mainly across design delivery and temporary works making sure they are integrated. Daily, it involves speaking with our design teams and coordinating the outputs with the temporary works and construction teams. Reviewing designs, making notes, attending meetings to discuss comments and solving problems.
Getting a real deep understanding how pushing engineering boundaries and challenges. The bar is set very high and if I can understand it here, there will be many opportunities to bring other projects up to this level.”
Georgia has been named as one of the Top 50 Women in Engineering for 2022.
Read the full story here:
Georgia Thompson, Assistant Design Programme Manager
Our team came together for EKFBs first ‘Engagement Gala’ in June, an event held to provide an opportunity for approximately 3,000 of our workforce to learn, enjoy and interact with EKFBs supply chain and the resources they provided, from Health and Safety, to virtual reality experiences. Part of the event was dedicated to EDI and pictured is our people celebrating and talking about the importance of making engineering and construction accessible for women.
We are recruiting for a variety of exciting roles across the organisation, from environmental managers to section engineers, and have apprenticeship opportunities available.
Join our team and be part of the biggest infrastructure project in Europe. Click here to access our careers portal for more information.