As part of the #BuildingEquality Campaign, Cora Sutton-Smith, with Cronin & Sutton Consulting shares her story.
I studied Science in college but when I went to work with my Mam (Project Manager) on a building site the summer I finished, I quickly realised construction was the industry for me. I enjoy the whole process of a building project, from the planning stages to seeing the project successfully completed. When I decided to stay in construction I went back to college part-time and studied Project Management and completed a masters in Planning & Development. My all-girls secondary school didn’t have technical drawing or consruction studies so science was the most technical subject I got exposure to.
My Dad is a Structural Engineer so a while later I started working with him and we started a Company with his Business Partner in 2012 at the height of the industry recession. Cut to 8 years later we are a very well known Civil & Structural Consulting Engineering firm with over 65 Staff members across 3 offices, working on some of the most prestigious construction projects in the Country. When we started I worked as a Project Manager on several projects but as we have grown my attention is mainly focused on the operations and administration of the Company. I enjoy this aspect of things very much. There is a very broad range of areas that require ongoing attention on a day to day basis including tenders and marketing, quality control and accreditation, IT, human resources and recruiting, training and CPD, office and property management, to name a few.
It took a few years to even get any female applicants for technical roles in our Company but I am proud to say we now have a number of female Civil & Structural Engineers and Technicians, as well as those on our administration and finance teams. I hope to see these numbers continue to grow. We participate in Engineers Ireland awareness campaigns about equality in the industry as much as we can. This year that includes visiting a few schools to tell children about engineering.
From my own experience, I think we need to provide a broader range of subjects in all schools that will give girls the skills to work in the construction industry, as well as encouragment to consider the relevant courses by career counsellors. It is also essential to have women represented at every level of the industry so that girls and boys from the youngest age picture both genders when they think of Engineers or Construction workers.
To learn more about the #BuildingEquality campaign and to share your own story, please visit our dedicated page here