Big build boosts gender inclusion

Victoria’s Big Build is providing opportunities for women to learn, work and lead this International Women’s Day.

This year’s theme, #BreakTheBias, challenges the culture that sees women under-represented in a range of industries, including transport and construction.

At Victoria’s Big Build, these initiatives are helping attract and grow the next generation of skilled, confident women in transport:

  • The Building Equality Policy came into effect at the start of this year and is designed to address gender stereotypes in the building industry. Applying to new government projects valued at $20 million or more, it mandates female representation in at least:
    • 3 per cent of each trade role
    • 7 per cent of each non-trade position
    • 35 per cent of management, supervisor and specialist labour roles
    • 4 per cent of labour hours for apprentices and trainees.
  • The Women in Apprenticeships fund is supporting 10 projects to create a pipeline of skilled workers to help build Victoria’s future.
  • The Victorian Government’s Women in Transport Program supports women working in construction.

Stefania Calati – Building Manager, Arden Station, Metro Tunnel Project

Stefania Calati is a civil engineer with 15 years of experience in construction engineering. She completed a double degree in Civil Engineering and Arts at the University of Melbourne, where she combined her love of mathematics and languages.

“As a female manager I bring a different type of energy to large infrastructure projects, the sites I work at, and the teams I work with. I think differently, share differently, and listen differently. Little by little, I’m aiming to change how the roles of women in construction are perceived, so that women taking on key roles across major transport infrastructure projects like the Metro Tunnel Project becomes more the norm and less the exception,” she said.

Kavery Uddappanda – Graduate, Civil Engineering, North East Link Program (NELP)

Now a member of the North East Link Program (NELP) 2022 Graduate Program, Kavery came to NELP through the Summer Interns Program in 2021. Kavery gained her engineering degree at Swinburne University and is now working as a civil engineer.

Kavery became interested in engineering through her engagement with STEM subjects at school and is passionate about being able to physically see the impact and benefits of her work.

“Growing up in the United Arab Emirates, with vast construction projects happening all around me, sparked my interest in science and engineering at a young age. What I love most about engineering is being able to contribute to change, specifically in creating a better environment for the future,” she said.

Adele Aldaoud – Rail and Infrastructure Graduate, Suburban Rail Loop Authority

Growing up in Syria, Adele Aldaoud loved visiting her carpenter grandfather and architect aunt to watch them at work, spellbound by the plans and drawings sprawled across their desks.

“I always wondered how someone could turn ideas and drawings on paper into a real structure like a massive skyscraper. I used to think ‘that person must be superhuman!’’ she said.

Coupled with a love and talent for math, Adele knew engineering was for her. With the unwavering support of her parents, Adele completed a Bachelor of Civil Engineering at Al-Ba’ath University in Syria, then a Masters in Civil and Structural Engineering at the University of Tasmania.

“I like that engineering is all about innovation creativity, that you can make an impact on the community – and even the world – for the future,” she said.

Now working at the Suburban Rail Loop Authority as part of the 2022 graduate cohort, Adele is excited to make her mark on Melbourne.