03 November 2020

Charlotte Crowson's ConStructEd Programme Experience

 Charlotte Crowson's ConStructEd Programme Experience

On 22nd September 2020 the highly acclaimed 'Equate Women at ConStructEd' was hosted at Sibbald Training. Undergraduate MEng Civil Engineering student, Charlotte Crowson, wrote an article about her experience about the three day programme.

"Over 3 days in September 2020 I took part in an event organised by Equate Scotland as an opportunity to gain construction experience. 

Equate Scotland is an organisation working to provide support, networking and experience for women in STEM. 

They have a wide range of resources from training courses like the one I attended, to an online service that provides tailored CV support.

When the Watt Women society shared the event in early August, I jumped at the opportunity to leave the virtual meetings behind for a few days, and get out on a construction site. I envisioned the course as a practical example of my university lectures, watching a professional execute construction tasks and give useful pointers for what Civil Engineers do in their day to day careers. 

The reality was a lot more exciting. 

The 3 day course kicked off with role assignment, in our teams we were to select one of eight roles, from Quality Assurance to Concrete Manager. 

I chose to be the Project Director, which gave me an opportunity to practice my leadership and decision making skills. 

We were then given a task: build a wind turbine. 

I had not been expecting the level of autonomy we received, we were given advice and pointers but it came down to us to make the decisions, and actually get on with it. My days with the ConStructEd team provided one of the best learning environments of my career so far. 

The task was completely hands-on and the team learnt on the job, from writing risk assessments to excavating holes to pouring concrete, in a safe environment that allowed us to make mistakes and learn from them. 

Some of the basics I learnt about working on a construction site will stick with me and guide me for the rest of my career. 

One of the biggest benefits of this project was the opportunity to work alongside a diverse team of women in STEM, from several different universities and disciplines. 

By the end of the task I was incredibly impressed, and proud, of my team. Every job was met with enthusiasm, efficiency and hard work, I was blown away by how well we worked together. 

The final product reflected the time, energy and effort we had put in; a fully functional wind turbine generating energy. 

I doubt I would have learnt so much without such a brilliant team of women working together to pool our knowledge and support one another, and I hope that I will have more opportunities to work with similar teams in the future. 

As I continue forward in my career, both at university and then later in the world of work, I will reflect fondly on this experience and the opportunities it presented. 

I would highly recommend that anyone studying a construction related course looks into programmes and experiences like this one, I cannot overstate how much I learnt over such a short period of time."