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The engineering and construction industry is challenging stereotypes. “Male and stale” is a thing of the past, with more women joining what has traditionally been a male environment.

Connect Plus Services (CPS) is demonstrating its commitment to a diverse workforce. Increasing the number of women in its business is a strategic target, and CPS has set ambitious targets to deliver through positive action planning.

To celebrate international women in engineering day, we have spoken to some of the ladies working with us on the M25. Here’s what they had to say.

Julie Hyland, senior structures engineer

Who is your role model and why?

The Structures Asset Team, who I work with on a day to day basis. Currently they are collectively, my role model. The same can be said of all the teams that I’ve worked in over the course of my career. No one person is perfect but in a team, we take the best from each person.

What is it like to work in the engineering industry?

To use just one word because we are pretty busy, it’s a challenge.

If you could tell one thing to a younger version of you relating to your careers choices, what would it be?

Trust yourself more and put things into your own words first then let the corporate lingo/diplomacy inform you in the editing process. 

Laura Fox, HR Administrator

Who is your role model and why?

My role model is Chris Brown, service delivery director. Chris is a male role model for me within CPS as he has given me guidance and advice throughout my 2 years here.

What is it like to work in the engineering industry?

Fast paced and challenging.

If you could tell a younger version of you one thing relating to your career choices, what would it be?

Work hard and give yourself time- things don’t happen overnight but if you put the effort in results will follow.

Cintia Bailey, Communications Business Partner

Who is your role model and why?

My role model is Moses Ajala, CPS Structures Asset Engineer.

He’s very engaged in our Adopt a School initiative. He uses his time, enthusiasm and experiences to encourage and inspire young people. He is particular interested in breaking the gender barrier and get more girls interested in STEM subjects.

What is it like to work in the engineering industry?

It’s great. There’s so much to learn and so many interesting areas within the business too. I thought it would be slightly difficult for a woman but CPS is welcoming and wants to get more women into the industry, which is a breath of fresh air.

If you could tell one thing to a younger version of you relating to your careers choices, what would it be?

Don’t be afraid. Go out there and get it done!

Kelly Regan-Mears, Head of Communications

Who is your role model and why?

My role model is Chris Brown, service delivery director. I worked with Chris in 2003 for a period, and again in 2014 when I joined CPS. I have always been struck by his work ethic, dedication and loyalty. He is honest and non-judgemental. He sees solutions where others see problems. With Chris, it’s not about gender, it’s about the right person for the job. And he’s straight with people – too straight sometimes, but he’ll always tell you his opinion!

What is it like to work in the engineering industry?

I love this industry and I love my job. My career has not been without its challenges. On one project, even as the most senior female staff member, some male colleagues saw me as default minute taker and tea maker. I make a good cuppa, but that’s not all I am. At CPS, it’s you and your performance that set your career path. I’ve been promoted and I’m very proud to say I am one of three women on the senior leadership team here. That is absolute evidence that the industry, and CPS in particular, is no longer the male-orientated environment it has historically been.

If you could tell a younger version of you one thing relating to your career choices, what would it be?

I’d tell myself more than one thing actually. Keep going, you’ll get there. Believe in yourself because others do. Have courage of your convictions, you’re right. Take every opportunity that comes your way. Your hard work will pay off. And enjoy it – you’re going to have a ball!

Zerrin Kendir, HR advisor

My role model is John McNeill, Network Operations Control Room Manager.

John has a very positive attitude towards the work he does and appreciates any help that is provided to him and is always happy to support his team and business.

Kelly Burdall, business improvement manager

Victor McMullan interviewed me 10 years ago and opened up the possibility of working part time. He also encouraged me to progress through the business. I was returning to work after three years at home raising my family. He is supportive and flexible and his kind nature also means he is well liked by his team and the wider business.