As Victoria’s largest infrastructure project, Suburban Rail Loop (SRL) is supporting up to 24,000 jobs and creating more opportunities for women to work in engineering and construction.
International Women in Engineering Day is an opportunity to celebrate those working in the field and understand the challenges they face.
As a multi-generational project, SRL is an opportunity to increase workforce diversity – and attract and keep more women in the industry.
More than 40 per cent of Suburban Rail Loop Authority employees are women, including 50 per cent in senior management roles.
Senior Project Engineer Alison Ferrari joined SRLA in early 2021 and has enjoyed working across many different areas.
“There is a lot of variety to enable women to have a rewarding career and use their skills and talents across communication, problem solving, project management, community engagement and to be part of something positive.”
She said International Women in Engineering Day, held on June 23, was a chance to encourage change in the workplace.
“There are some ongoing challenges which is why we have Women in Engineering Day in the first place,” she said.
“A woman can be seen as bossy when they’re assertive or weak when communicating with empathy. It’s often the case that women are not included or having their experiences heard.”
“I would encourage more men in the engineering field to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges some female engineers face and get onboard and support their female colleagues.”
Rail and Infrastructure Delivery Executive General Manager Mick Douge said women have long been underrepresented in engineering and across STEM industries.
“Turning this around needs a proactive and relentless effort that includes our education systems and industry,” he said.
“We are very fortunate to have a number of exceptionally talented and skilled women at SRLA who are integral to what we are achieving.”
“International Women in Engineering Day is an opportunity to recognise these contributions, and to think more broadly about how we can do even more to attract and embed gender equality and diversity at every level.”
Construction on SRL East from Cheltenham to Box Hill started in June 2022, and during major construction will create up to 8,000 direct local jobs.
At least 14% of total hours worked during this first phase of construction will be completed by Victorian apprentices, trainees or cadets, with opportunities for women, Aboriginal and disadvantaged Victorians.
SRL will provide a long pipeline of jobs and help train the next generation of skilled workers, with more than 3.5 million hours worked on SRL to date.
Nearly half of the 2023 SRL Graduate Program are women – providing a launching pad into the industry for graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths.
SRL East will improve access to first class educational facilities across Melbourne including Deakin and Monash universities and Box Hill TAFE.
For a young woman in Box Hill studying engineering at Monash University, a trip to the new SRL station at Monash will take just 12 minutes.
Trains will be running by 2035 – delivering faster journeys for the next generation of engineers and innovators.