Building a bridge and bonds with Constructionarium Australia
Seymour Whyte has proudly sponsored another Constructionarium Australia All-Female Story Bridge Build as a lead contractor.
The initiative invites emerging female engineers entering the industry to develop team working skills, problem solving capabilities and real-life experience by building a replica bridge structure.
A hands-on learning experience, participants collaborate to plan, tender, build and handover a scale project. It enables exposure for young engineering professionals to build connections and develop practical project skills, leadership and teamwork.
Taking place at the Construction Training Centre in Salisbury, Brisbane from 22 June to 1 July, the build coincided with International Women in Engineering day. Our build participants were guests of honour, celebrating the emerging female talent in the engineering sector.
Weighing in at over 4 tonnes and 30 metres in length, the bridge is the centrepiece of an eight-day training programme designed to provide undergraduate and early career professionals with real-world experience as they manage a major construction project from tender to completion.
Having participated in Constructionarium Australia’s 2021 All-Female Build, Varsity Lakes to Burleigh Site Engineer Rychelle Witney, returned to project managed the build; the first alumni to do so.
Everyone would agree that this year’s favourite participant was Service Dog, Quigley. Supporting one of our cohort members, the black lab stole the hearts of everyone at the build as he enjoyed off duty pets.
Constructionarium’s All Female-Build creates a strong network for female engineering to connect over a shared experience. The feedback we have received from our Seymour Whyte participants reinforces the importance of supporting this initiative.
Christie Paterson, Undergraduate Engineer outlined her experience and professional impact.
“The all-female build Constructionarium was such a great program to be a part of. I’m so thankful to Seymour Whyte for supporting such an important and influential build.
Completing a project from the initial tendering phase right through to delivering and handing the competed bridge back to the client in just 8 days has been invaluable to my career development.
I learnt the importance of ensuring you cover all your basis and contingencies in the tendering phase to the significance clear communication can have on site and the difference it can make to deliver a cost and time effective project”.
Sophia Jiang, Graduate Engineer, echoes the positive feedback.
“Constructionarium’s all-female build was a new experience for me professionally. It’s given me the opportunity to work in a large team and take on different roles. This have given me a deeper understanding of the responsibilities of HSES Officer and Project Control Manager. I’ve had the chance to meet and bond with female engineers like me from different companies and varying levels”.
An interview with Rychelle Witney
Rychelle as part of our 2021 All-Female Build
- What did you enjoy most about Constructionarium Australia?
Lunch and learns were incredibly interesting. Hearing from industry professionals was so inspiring and eye-opening to just how many opportunities are out there.
At my current project, I am the only female engineer in the office. It was great to meet other engineers and hear their stories in similar positions to my own. We actually have a group in a social media app and we have spoken since the 2021 Constructionarium build finished. This really shines a light on how well everyone connects during the build to continually support each other, even once the experience has ended.
- What did you learn about yourself or the industry as part of Constructionarium Australia?
I learnt that the industry is willing to push you if you are willing to put your all into what you do. Construction seems like this big, impenetrable machine, but you really do get out what you put in.
- What is the one thing you will always remember about being part of the build?
I remember how daunting it felt to begin with. I had never done anything structures related. I had never been part of a tender process. But at the end of the experience, none of that mattered because I felt so proud of what my fellow participants and I had accomplished over the week and a half.
- What would you say to someone who is thinking about taking part in a future build?
Go for it. I almost backed out in 2021 but my project team convinced me to go, and I’m so glad that they did. You get unforgettable experiences and networking opportunities you seldom get anywhere else. And if you think you need experience to participate, you definitely don’t. There is a great support network here that will help you along, but you might surprise yourself with how much you do know and can contribute!
- How did Constructionarium participation help you across the last 12 months?
I learnt to value my opinion and to back myself, my decision making and knowledge. You will not be correct 100% of the time but that is okay! Contribution matters a whole lot more in a team environment than proving you know all the answers.
2022 All-Female Build Project Manager
- What will be your biggest challenge moving from cohort member to leader?
My biggest challenge will be stepping back and letting the participants find their own journey. I loved last year so much that I just want to build it again!
- Knowing what you know, what piece of advice would you give to our cohort?
My advice would be to get out of your comfort zone and try a ‘project position’ that is on the opposite end of the spectrum to what you do or know.
- What does it mean to you to lead a Constructionarium build?
I have been given incredible opportunities during my time with Seymour Whyte for which I am very grateful. I take great pride in being able to support and grow the next cohort of engineers in the industry. I love what I do, and I want to show others that passion and how the industry rewards those that work hard.