News Feature

Project Centre celebrates International Women in Engineering Day 2017

International Women in Engineering Day takes place annually on 23 June. This day celebrates the achievements of women in engineering as well as encourages future female talent in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry.

Times are changing and slowly we are seeing an increase in females studying engineering and technical subjects, and progressing into successful careers. Here at Project Centre we are extremely proud to be an advocate for women in engineering.

Tracey McGovern, Principal Engineer, delivers highway and public realm improvement schemes across the south east transforming places into exceptional spaces that people use. We sit down with Tracey and discuss how she got to where she is, her inspirations and the challenges she’s faced in her career...

Q: Why do you think there aren’t as many women working in engineering as men?

A: As an industry we struggle to encourage and retain women once they qualify and join the industry. Curriculum reform in recent years and targeted STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers advice is starting to address the lack of school leavers joining the industry; however we need to do more in terms of retaining and promoting women in engineering.

There are numerous contributing factors; lack of mentorship for women in the industry, gender dynamics within certain areas of the industry resulting in lack of confidence and the inability to balance a professional career against the demands of family life.

The industry’s reputation also contributes to the problem, engineering is often viewed as a male career option and not known as an industry that is now adapting, for example by offering flexible working practices. This perception acts as a barrier.

Q: How do you think the industry can encourage women to work in this industry?

A: We need to continue to create a working environment that promotes a good work life balance. The demands of the job and trying to maintain a healthy work life balance can be challenging. We are slowly seeing an increase in flexible working practices in areas of industry, focusing on what people deliver as opposed to where they sit. This approach can reduce work related stress and increase productivity, and should be promoted.

Q: How do you balance being a mum and working fulltime?

A: It’s a struggle, the same with any career driven job. I’m fortunate that I am supported by a good team, so I can delegate jobs to them but I also have to carefully prioritise my time.

There’s also some responsibility on the employer to offer a flexible environment. Project Centre let me do a condensed week which means I spend four days working, some of this time at home, other staff work 30 hours or set days from home. There has to be a lot of trust between staff and Project Centre but I deliver on schemes so have proven that it doesn’t matter where I work from the job gets done.

Flexible working can be challenging, it can spill into your home life, particularly on a Sunday evening and I have to rein myself in. But I prefer flexible working than working Mon-Fri 9-5 in the office. It’s hard work but you can make it work.

Q: How did you get into engineering?

A: Maths and Physics have always been my stronger subjects so Engineering in some shape or form was always a good fit for my strengths. The majority of my family work in construction so from the age of 16 I would often work on sites as an Engineer’s Assistant during weekends and college and holidays.

I secured a place at Southampton University and studied for four years to complete a Masters in Civil Engineering. During this time I won a scholarship with Gifford and spent two years working for them in their offices in the New Forest during University holidays.

When I graduated I wanted to move back to London. I joined Jacobs in their Tower Bridge Office within their Urban Design team working on infrastructure, highways and public realm schemes. During my time there I gained design experience working on highway schemes and was seconded to Local Government part-time for two years supervising the delivery of some major schemes. The experience I gained in terms of managing consultants and contractors, exposure to construction sites and contract management proved invaluable.

As a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) I visited Exhibition Road as part of an ICE presentation. I decided then and there that I wanted to work with the engineers who delivered that scheme, and I joined Project Centre in 2012.

In October 2014 I sat my Professional Review with CIHT and became Chartered Engineer (CEng MCIHT) in January 2015.

Q: What does an average day look like for you?

A: It’s really varied. I project manage schemes from inception to completion. This includes concept stage, feasibility design, being out on site with contractors, design, quantity surveying, pricing schemes and contracts. I work with an excellent team of people who support me in delivering the schemes.

Q: What do you find interesting about your job?

A: There are very few other industries which offer the opportunity to address serious national and global issues such as flood risk, air quality, population growth and obesity.

I work with some excellent colleagues and clients across a huge variety of schemes. Everything we deliver is a team effort, this continually challenges me to improve and support my team to develop and strive to be better.

Q: What do you dislike about your job?

Not so much what I dislike but I would like to be able to give more of my time to colleagues to assist them with their development. Often project delivery and deadlines dictate, so I don’t spend as much time on sharing knowledge as I would like.

Q: What are your aspirations for your future?

A: So far I have resisted managerial roles as I have focused on improving my technical knowledge. I feel that there are only a few people in the industry who have a really sound technical knowledge base. People move onto management and then there is a loss of knowledge in the business, we need to get better at retaining skills.

Q: What would you say to a 16 year old female school leaver?
Do what you’re good at and do more of it. Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to try, fail, try again and fail again!

News Releases

16 Oct, 2017 Healthy Streets Conference, Exhibition and Awards
6 Sep, 2017 Nick Ruxton-Boyle Joins Project Centre
25 Aug, 2017 Joao Toscano Joins Project Centre as Principal Landscape Architect
26 Jul, 2017 Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden opened by Prime Minister
4 Jul, 2017 Sponsers of Croydon Pridefest
26 Jun, 2017 Sutton High Street Regeneration
23 Jun, 2017 Project Centre celebrates International Women in Engineering Day 2017
6 Jun, 2017 Hannah O’Donnell joins Project Centre
31 May, 2017 Waltham Forest Council’s ‘Enjoy Waltham Forest’ scheme wins RICS Award
24 Apr, 2017 Project Centre Employee’s to take part in Charity Boxing Event
20 Apr, 2017 Project Centre’s Graduate Programme 2017
11 Apr, 2017 Project Centre secure Luton Borough Council deal with VolkerHighways
11 Apr, 2017 Project Centre combines with VolkerHighways on new Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead contract
28 Mar, 2017 Nichola Mansfield joins Project Centre
28 Mar, 2017 Waltham Forest win Transport Borough of the Year Award
9 Mar, 2017 Geoff Waller joins Project Centre
8 Mar, 2017 Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead awards Project Centre with new £2.5 million contract
8 Mar, 2017 Peng Zhao joins Project Centre
15 Dec, 2016 Project Centre and VolkerHighways collaborate on new Medway Council deal
30 Nov, 2016 Project Centre expand flood risk management services with new appointment
15 Nov, 2016 Mini-Holland in Evening Standard, 8 November:
3 Nov, 2016 Ealing appoint Project Centre as highest ranked consultant
14 Oct, 2016 Co-designing in Sutton
14 Oct, 2016 Romford Market
26 Sep, 2016 Project Centre is partner of choice for Waltham Forest
16 Sep, 2016 Scott Lester joins Project Centre
16 Sep, 2016 Project Centre supporting Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
16 Sep, 2016 Project Centre helping Haringey to deliver better Highway Asset Management
15 Sep, 2016 Project Centre helping Birmingham City to improve Cost and Risk Management
18 Jul, 2016 Kristina appointed to Young Professionals Committee
28 Jun, 2016 Chris Harrison joins Project Centre
23 Jun, 2016 ICE recognizes Project Centre scheme for prestigious award
23 Jun, 2016 Staff show their skills at 5-a-side!
23 Jun, 2016 CIHT working with Project Centre to improve diversity and inclusion
24 May, 2016 Mini-Holland goes down a treat with key clients
12 May, 2016 A breath of fresh air: Hammersmith’s bid for a low emission neighbourhood
28 Apr, 2016 Green Light for next stage of Chatham Town Centre
17 Mar, 2016 Project Centre to help Sutton Northern Gateway get a face-lift
16 Mar, 2016 Project Centre secures next design stage of Golborne Road
12 Feb, 2016 Graduate Recruitment Programme now in second round
2 Feb, 2016 Structural design service launched
21 Dec, 2015 Project Centre shortlisted again
21 Dec, 2015 Even the Beetles crossed safely
16 Nov, 2015 Project Centre secures West Midlands Consultancy Services Framework
17 Sep, 2015 Medway appoint Project Centre to lead on Strood
17 Sep, 2015 Project Centre scoops Newham Framework
24 Jul, 2015 Project Centre adds Forest Road to its mini-Holland project portfolio
24 Jul, 2015 Lewisham Council appoints Project Centre to assist with LIP programme
2 Jul, 2015 Project Centre wins prestigious highways award for its outstanding design of Southall Broadway Boulevard
25 Jun, 2015 Project Centre makes key management appointment to meet growth
9 Apr, 2015 Project Centre appointed for Brighton's Valley Gardens technical re-design
10 Mar, 2015 Clapham Old Town Regeneration Project Scoops Second Award
20 Nov, 2014 Project Centre opens new city office - Makes key appointments
18 Aug, 2014 Islington choose Project Centre to continue Public Realm relationship
18 Mar, 2014 Project Centre aims to bring local authorities’ traffic orders into tip-TOPS condition
18 Oct, 2013 Parsons Brinckerhoff and Project Centre win prestigious national highways award
28 May, 2013 Croydon Council appoints Project Centre
28 Sep, 2012 Waltham Forest strikes a first with Project Centre
28 Jun, 2012 Kevin Donnelly joins Project Centre
27 Jan, 2012 Road safety calendar awards
12 Dec, 2011 Project Centre wishes you a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year
25 Nov, 2011 New Head of Parking
8 Apr, 2011 16th Annual Quality Streetscape Conference
14 Mar, 2011 Rye Lane wins BPA Living Streets Award
21 Jan, 2011 Children's art recognised at road safety awards
1 Dec, 2010 Islington becomes the first 20mph borough
15 Nov, 2010 Islington Council and Project Centre win Green Apple award
14 Oct, 2010 Project Centre wins Watford framework agreement
19 Jul, 2010 Southwark Council unveils new Project Centre streetscape design for Rye Lane
24 Jun, 2010 Islington Council and Project Centre celebrate success at the CIHT Awards
7 Apr, 2010 Project Centre wins four year framework agreement with Islington Council
19 Mar, 2010 Islington Council and Project Centre win environment award for car club scheme
2 Mar, 2010 Steve Weitzel appointed to help Olympic host boroughs
17 Feb, 2010 Work starts to transform Exhibition Road
28 Oct, 2009 Strategic alliance wins first contract
27 Oct, 2009 Project Centre appoints new head of parking
31 Jul, 2009 Project Centre and Southwark Council win third major award of 2009
27 Mar, 2009 Project Centre wins second major award of 2009 at London Transport Awards
24 Mar, 2009 Project Centre wins Living Streets Award