Multiplex's Vicki Holmes interviews Digital Design Engineering apprentice Lexxi Evans.
At 17 years of age, Lexxi Evans speaks with a huge amount of maturity. I had the pleasure of interviewing her in October 2018 to hear about her experiences as a young woman in construction, as she is now a year into her Digital Design Engineering Apprenticeship provided by the Construction & Design Centre of Excellence (Cadcoe).
The apprenticeship is part theory and part practical, with the practical activities being carried out at TDS. In her role there, Lexxi tells me that she is taking on all of the same tasks as her more experienced peers, including using CAD, Tekla, and creating drawings and material lists. She had initially wanted to be an Architect, as she’s always adored exploring interesting buildings. However, after speaking to a woman about her future at an apprenticeships fair, she was introduced to Engineering and what she describes as the “perfect” apprenticeship at Cadcoe.
Lexxi told me that what she enjoys most about Engineering is that, “with every job there’s always different challenges and no job is the same. You realise that everybody in the workplace is learning and there’s always something somebody doesn’t know that somebody else does. That’s what I love about this job – you’re always learning”.
Before her apprenticeship, Lexxi had never heard of BIM (Building Information Modeling), and had never had Engineering suggested to her as a career opportunity, even though it is clear now that she has all of the right qualities. We discussed briefly whether this might have been due to her gender; she acknowledged that she believes young girls interested in buildings hear more about the “pretty pictures involved in architecture, and aren’t shown the more technical side of things, even though that is sometimes more fitting”.
When asked about the ratio of males to females on her course, Lexxi confirmed that there are more young men on her course than young women, but she was clear that this did not bother her personally – she is more focussed on “getting the job done and having fun with it”. When I asked her how she thinks we could encourage more young women to choose careers in Engineering & Construction, her response was simple; she believes that we need to publicise the industry more, and that women are simply not aware of the opportunities and therefore don’t consider it as a career choice. Once her apprenticeship is finished, Lexxi would like to carry on to complete a HNC and HND, possibly even going on to university to become a fully qualified engineer.
Finally, when I asked if she’d like to give any advice to young women considering Engineering or Construction as a career, she provided some simple and clear words of wisdom, “Take the leap and exceed your expectations. Don’t feel intimidated - nobody is judging you; you are just another co-worker and you will be treated the same”.
If you enjoyed reading this article, you'll want to take a look at our What It's Really Like To Be a Young Woman in the Construction Industry blog post.
Interested in supercharging your career?
The Women in Construction Summit returns to London on 16th May 2019. The conference offers a broad range of career and personal development workshops, critical discussions assessing company case studies and inspiring keynote presentations from advocates who are challenging the norm.
To register, click here.
Republished with permission of Women in BIM