Alexandra is currently 9 years into a career within the engineering sector. Having initially studied a Civil Engineering HNC whilst working as a trainee CAD technician, Alex progressively gained practical experience in 2D drafting and 3D modelling on significant new build and refurbishment projects across London.
Alex joined Parmarbrook in 2012 as a CAD/Revit Manager and subsequently went on to achieve a 1st Class honours degree in Civil engineering from South Bank University. She has now personally delivered over 50 developments for construction.
What made you choose engineering as a career?
I chose to work in engineering as I have always had an interest in buildings and construction – having been brought up surrounded by it. I would say that I am a product of my environment as my father is a Structural engineer and as a young girl he would take me on day trips to London where he would point out all the buildings he had worked on.
As I got older my interest in engineering grew, accompanied by a new interest in graphic and 3D design. After undertaking work experience with both KPF and Waterman Group I realised that this was the industry I wanted to work in.
What do you find most rewarding about working in this industry?
The sense of achievement you get from seeing your 3D model / 2D plans in its physical form on site. A structure that you have contributed to is definitely something I can feel really proud of.
What has been one of your biggest achievements to date?
My biggest achievement to date is gaining a First Class Bachelor of Engineering Honours Degree in Civil Engineering whilst working at Parmarbrook.
What project are you most proud of?
The project that stands out for me the most is Carlisle Place, Victoria. The building is home to ‘The Passage’, a charity that help homeless people transform their lives by providing resources from refuge to training facilities. Parmarbrook were commissioned by The Passage/Land securities to extensively refurbish the existing building, which was a challenge I relished.
The Duke of Cambridge reopened the newly refurbished centre at a ceremony held last month, which I attended. I am very proud of the work I carried out to transform the building, and it’s an accolade to the entire design team that this work has been recognised by HRH The Duke of Cambridge during his visit.
What do you feel are the biggest challenges women in engineering face?
In an age when we can be proud of gender equality, engineering continues to stand out as one of few remaining male-dominated industries and is too often viewed as a male career option.
We know that in the UK we face a future skills shortage, so in order to address this problem alone we need to attract more women to engineering, and retain more of our qualified women engineers.
Things are improving, and we are slowly seeing more young women enter our profession. But it is important for the industry, educators and government to continue their efforts and ensure women make a significant contribution to engineering’s future.
If you could sum up in 10 words how much you love your job, what would they be?
It’s fulfilling when a career and a passion come together.