Rising Star - Contribution to Gender Diversity

This category is open to any inspirational early career person, not just women, who have gone above and beyond to promote gender diversity through their own work in the construction or engineering sectors.

Anya Abraham

Anya is hugely passionate about showing younger women and other historically marginalized people just how varied the Engineering sector is and how there is no single idea of what an ‘Engineer’ is. She has been involved in various STEM outreach activities, including organizing work experience for three female students last summer, one of whom has gone on to study Engineering at University. Engaging people from minority ethnic groups and low-socioeconomic backgrounds with Engineering careers is also important to her. She has volunteered with the RAEng on their GEEP program and reached out to local comprehensive schools to offer in-person work experience to students who are interested in STEM careers but may not have the networks to secure a placement. Increasing gender diversity has played a key role in the first two years of her Engineering career, and she hopes her contribution only increases alongside her experience and seniority.

Sam Blanchard

The award nomination reflects Sam's dedication to diversity and inclusion in the construction industry. Key actions included leading a graduate group that conducted a survey revealing biases against transgender individuals, escalating findings to executive management, and conducting a learning session for all employees. Sam has also joined the Pride network's Steering Group, sharing further survey findings, developing training resources and participating in a companywide webinar about the importance of Pride. Beyond this, they are passionate about encouraging young girls towards engineering careers, evidenced by independently arranging STEM activities at a Girlguiding UK camp and sharing their own career journey. Furthermore, Sam has taken advantage of opportunities to speak to other graduates about their experiences in the industry, inspiring female empowerment within the company.

Libby Bowers

Libby provides support for young females entering the highways and construction industry. By openly sharing her personal experiences and challenges, Libby has helped demystify the industry and empower individuals. Through participation in apprenticeship panel discussions and mentorship, she has facilitated the entry of young females into the highways sector. Libby's dedication to empowering women is further evidenced by her role in creating a Colas Women’s Affinity Group and leading initiatives like the ‘Period Dignity’ campaign to promote gender equality and address women’s health issues in the workplace. Her 'Pathway Podcast' showcased innovative approaches to promoting gender diversity, receiving praise for its impact on career decision-making among individuals. Libby's commitment to expanding her initiatives demonstrates her vision for broader industry collaboration and mutual learning to create a more equitable working environment. Through creative tools and increased visibility of underrepresented voices, Libby sparks meaningful conversations, fostering inclusivity within the workplace.

Bex Fellows
On The Tools

Bex is the senior brand executive for On The Tools: the largest and most engaged online community for UK tradespeople, situated in the heart of Birmingham, with a mission to entertain, educate, and empower the construction industry workforce nationwide. A highlight of Bex’s efforts for gender diversity was their contributions to a defining report in the landscape of gender diversity in the construction industry: the ‘Women On The Tools White Paper’. Through the report, Bex supported the distribution of a unique, in-depth exploration of the current issues that tradeswomen face in the UK. The recommendations at the climax of the report contribute to the debate and address all the key players involved: consumers, tradespeople, educational bodies, and even social media influencers.

Rebecca Folwell
Berkeley Group

In contributing to gender diversity in our business, alongside promoting and inspiring women in construction, Rebecca stands out as a shining example of someone who is deeply passionate about the subject. Rebecca’s drive and determination is unmatched. She routinely challenges herself, others, and our business, to modify their thought processes relating to opportunities that are presented to women.

Renee Preston
Gallaway Construction

It's an honour to be considered for this award, which reflects my dedication to diversity within the construction industry. Leading Gallaway Construction and founding Construction for Women, I've tackled the significant challenge of enhancing gender diversity in a male-dominated field. My strategy involved initiating "Construction for Girls" and "Construction for Women" a robust 12-week training program, aimed at providing women with work placement . These programs are poised to impact over 540 schoolgirls and train 90 women by year’s end, addressing a critical skills gap and fostering inclusivity. To ensure these initiatives' success, I personally covered all setup costs for the CIC when external funding was not available. This commitment not only guaranteed the launch and sustainability of our efforts but also ingrained valuable lessons in resilience and resource management. These undertakings have profoundly influenced project outcomes by introducing fresh talent into the industry and promoting culture.

Clare Prosser
Jomas Associates

Clare's passion for breaking barriers and championing gender equality in a male-dominated field like construction is truly admirable. Her unwavering dedication to creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for women in the industry serves as a beacon of hope for many. Through her hard work and perseverance, Clare is not only making a difference today but also laying a solid foundation for the women who will follow in her footsteps. With her strong spirit and vision, Clare is shaping a brighter future where diversity and empowerment thrive in the construction world.

Hollie Taylor

As an early-career engineer with four years of industry experience, I have consistently faced challenges in obtaining well-fitting Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Unfortunately, my poor experience upon joining Amey was not unique; discussions with colleagues revealed that many others shared similar struggles.I firmly believe that PPE should be tailored to fit workers, rather than expecting workers to adapt to ill-fitting gear. Since becoming part of the Amey team, I’ve channelled my passion into creating a platform for improving inclusivity for women in the industry. I’ve reached out to fellow female colleagues across the business who have encountered PPE size and fit issues. By providing support and validation, I aim to reinforce their sense of belonging and ensure that their voices are heard.