Women in construction: changing the face of the industry - Leena Begum, civil engineering apprentice

From specialist suppliers to main contractor boardrooms, females now work at all levels of what was traditionally a male-dominated industry. Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, we profile a series of women with diverse backgrounds and varied roles.

Leena Begum, civil engineering apprentice, Atkins

Leena Begum started as a health and safety apprentice on major infrastructure projects, before switching to Atkins to start a civil engineering apprenticeship, where she has been working on Hinkley Point C.

“I am working on the earthing model as the lead modeller, creating 3D models and working with other disciplines to achieve a clash-free model,” Begum explains. “The highlight is working with the global design centre in India, collaborating with other modellers in different time zones.”

Begum, who is working towards her EngTech qualification, has also been assessing flood assets for the Environmental Agency and her longer-term ambition is to help construct a flood relief tunnel in Bangladesh.

“To deliver effective solutions to the built environment we need to broaden our talent pool”

Her most satisfying career achievement to date is the pioneering creation of PPE for female Muslims and maternity wear on Tideway.

“This will introduce a different talent pool into the industry,” Begum enthuses. “The whole process from sketching my design on a Post-it note, through to now, where it is available on the market, has been incredible.”

She wants to see a more diverse workforce in construction, which she describes as a “problem solving” industry. “To deliver effective solutions to the built environment we need to broaden our talent pool,” she reasons.

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