International Women’s Day (8 March) is a day to celebrate the achievements of women. InfraBuild Detailer Sharon T. Abey says the key to success is identifying your passion and building your skills around it.
For InfraBuild Detailer Sharon T. Abey, forging a path in the male-dominated construction sector required her to address some personal challenges.
“The first challenge I had to overcome was the personal mental barrier to build confidence and convince myself that females can deliver work output that can equate, if not surpass, men in this industry,” Sharon says.
InfraBuild’s management has always been very encouraging and supportive of its female workers completing tasks meritoriously.”Sharon T. Abey, InfraBuild Reinforcing Detailer
Convinced that she had plenty to offer the sector, Sharon embraced structural engineering as a profession and has found satisfaction with a role at InfraBuild. If she has faced institutional barriers to success, she has battered them down at every opportunity.
“Thankfully, InfraBuild’s management has always been very encouraging and supportive of its female workers completing tasks meritoriously,” she says.
To coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March, Sharon explains what drives her and what unique set of skills she thinks she brings to InfraBuild and the broader construction sector.
What made you want to become a structural engineer?
Geometry captured my imagination at school and I used to draw all kinds of figures, houses and cars using geometry instruments. Eventually, great structures fascinated me and I turned my attention to the technology went into them. This drove my passion to secure a Masters in Structural Engineering.
What projects are you working on now and in what capacity?
I have been a Detailer for the past 18 months. I’m responsible for 3D modelling of reinforcement in structural elements, preparing 2D detailed drawings, creating the reinforcement schedule and checking its construction feasibility. I am currently working on Quay Quarter in Sydney and the Constitution Place A Project [in Canberra]. Notable projects I’ve worked on previously have been The Ribbon [in Sydney] and Flinders Link [in Adelaide].
Describe InfraBuild’s work environment
The InfraBuild office where I work is a world-class facility. The management is supportive and are open to feedback and suggestions. The company provides a great opportunity for women to perform and it also provides a safe working environment, but I would like to see more female talent attracted to the company.
Do you have a role model or a mentor within the business (male or female?)
Rene Madrigal [InfraBuild Construction Solutions Senior Project Coordinator] is a great inspiration and mentor – he’s always happy to share his vast knowledge.
What set of skills are important to help you succeed in your job?
Technical skills related to detailing are critical to succeed in my role. The role demands attention to detail, an ability to visualise 3D views and the constructability of structures, and also strong communication and interpersonal skills.
On International Women’s Day (8 March), what advice do you have for other women?
I believe women should identify their passion and hone their skills around that. Also, it’s important that they trust themselves and build the confidence to face any kind of challenge in life.
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