Diversity and inclusion in the workplace – ‘Big Interview’ Part 2 with Dani Paxson

D&I in the modern workplace

Sean Barker sat down with structural engineer Dani Paxson, one of our Project Directors here at Holmes. This is Part Two of her interview where she discusses her involvement in the Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity (SE3) Project, the importance of role models, and what organisations can do to help those in minority groups to excel.

 

Here’s a short snippet from Part Two of Dani’s interview:

My focus is on the leaks in the pipeline and why women who are entering the profession tend to leave. We are getting the right numbers of women through the front door. We have been for some time now, but they’re leaking out at a higher rate than men.

What would you say to firms, and what could New Zealand engineering and architecture firms do to stop these leaks in the pipeline?

The most fundamental first step for most companies is to consider undergoing unconscious bias training. It’s pretty eye-opening and a great place to start to understand the dynamics between genders and other demographics you probably haven’t considered within your own company. There are invisible hurdles that, once you see them, you won’t want them there, and you’ll want to do something about it.

That aside, there are some mental shifts people have to be willing to make. The first of those is to be willing to stop making excuses. So, things like blaming the pipeline theory, or deciding that women leave for any number of stereotypical reasons we lean on we don’t understand. If we stop answering these questions we don’t know the answers to, with the fill-in-the-blank answers that we hear on TV, and in the media, then the next step is to start listening. For instance, listen to what women within our organisation want. Don’t make assumptions on their behalf, but start to engage with them. Find out what they’re looking for short-term and long-term in their careers, and ask them whether they see themselves fitting at your company. 

Read Dani’s super insightful interview here

International Women’s Day 2020

To celebrate International Women’s Day

on the 8th of March, two of our talented engineering experts – Sulo Shanmuganathan and Holly Wright were interviewed by the NZ Herald.

Sulo is one of our Technical Directors here at Holmes Consulting, and is a vital part of our Civil Structures Team. Whilst Holly is a Design Engineer (in our Structures Team) working on large projects like the soon-to-be-completed Commercial Bay in Auckland.

Both women bring their experience and expertise for all things engineering to the team here at Holmes, and we’re thrilled they got to share a snippet of what their engineering journey has been like so far.

Read the full article on the NZ Herald here!

World Engineering Day, 4 March 2020.

Finding unique and diverse talent to take up the baton isn’t always easy, but those looking for the next generation of engineers don’t have to go it alone. There’s a lot of value in joining up with other organisations who can help facilitate these new connections.

Today is World Engineering Day (4 March 2020) and to celebrate we’re resharing a LinkedIn article about our relationship with the Keystone Trust, written by our very own Chris Mackenzie, National Business Development Director here at Holmes Consulting.

For us here at Holmes Consulting, our connection with Keystone Trust has been hugely valuable when it comes to finding new talent and investing in the future of the wider property industry. It’s one of the ways we’re committed to helping the next generation get excited about engineering and careers in engineering.

Keystone Trust is a Registered Charity that has been promoting opportunities for young people to enter the property industry for 25 years. Its primary purpose is to encourage participation and provide opportunities for students who have financial need to reach their potential and grow their talent in property-related industries including construction and engineering.

Holmes has been a strong supporter and believer in Keystone Trust’s mission, that’s why we chose to partner with them nearly 20 years ago.

At Holmes, we believe it’s important to establish a workplace culture that is representative of the communities we serve and the places we live and work. By partnering with an organisation like Keystone Trust, we have been able to connect with rising talent who have challenged our thinking and encouraged greater diversity of thought.

But, like any partnership, it’s important that the connection is mutually beneficial. In addition to Holmes Consulting’s sponsorship and supporting various events, we take an active role by contributing to the Trust’s Sponsor Advisory Group. This gives us a chance to pay it forward by advocating for how other sponsors can contribute to the Trust and by offering guidance to the board of trustees.

If you’re looking to boost the future of both your organisation and the industry, we encourage you to consider how to do this in a way that can have an even bigger positive societal impact – starting with your people.

Read the full article by Chris here, to find out more about our involvement and to meet a former Keystone Trust Scholarship recipient who now works at Holmes!

Graduate & Summer Internship Recruitment Process for 2020/2021

Want to know what our recruitment process looks like for Graduates and Summer Internships?

Have a read of our process (below) for this year’s 2020/2021 Graduate and Summer Internships for structural design engineers.

And if you’re interested, we’d love to hear from you! Visit our Grad & Summer Internship page to apply today!

Holmes Consulting Graduate & Summer Internship Recruitment Process

 

You can also download a pdf of our recruitment process here.

The Secret Life of Engineers Abroad

annie-scott-holmes-consultingAnnie Scott, Design Engineer here at Holmes Consulting, is currently based in Utrecht (Netherlands) after making the move 13 months ago when a once-in-a-life-time opportunity presented itself to join our newly created office in the land of cheese, clogs, canals, windmills, and tulips.

She credits the move to Europe as being hugely influential on both her professional and personal growth, after spending just over three years here at Holmes Consulting (in our Auckland office) starting out as a Graduate Structural Engineer back in 2015.

You can read all about Annie’s experience in the November issue of DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing here.

Engineering our Graduates for Technical Success

holmes-graduates-visit-the-fun-factoryLast week our Structures and Civil Structures Graduates met in Christchurch for Holmes Consulting’s annual two day Technical Grad Workshop.
Thursday our grads visited the ‘Fun Factory’ (aka Holmes Solutions) for a tour around their lab (and gym!) – if you’ve ever seen MythBusters then you’ll understand how exciting that lab is! The tour was led by Ben Scott, a Holmes Solutions graduated, our Holmes Consulting grads were all impressed by the awesome projects they’re working on.
Then on Friday it was a jam-packed day with a morning strategy session led by our Principal of Civils, Andrea Jarvis. Followed by technical sessions from Andy Thompson, Bruce Galloway, Deb Shearer, and John Booth. Last, but not least, Stuart Oliver presented on where Holmes is going and the technical challenges we’re facing and what’s in store for the future.
The two day Technical Grad Workshop is a challenging but highly engaging way for our graduates to come together, learn from our leaders here at Holmes, and immerse themselves more into all things engineering.
Thanks goes to all our leaders and presenters who helped make the workshop such a great success!

From Graduate to Structural Engineer

This month, Construction News spoke to our talented Structural Engineer, Laura Schwass, about what it was like when she first joined Holmes Consulting as a Graduate Engineer.  The thought of being able to work on The Arts Centre in Christchurch was the very reason Laura applied for our Holmes Consulting graduate programme. The project heavily involved the seismic strengthening and careful restoration of 23 Category One heritage buildings of Gothic Revival architectural style – it’s possibly one of New Zealand’s biggest heritage restoration projects, and one of the largest projects of its type anywhere in the world!

You can read more about Laura’s story here.