Girls in Infrastructure 2021

Following on from the success of the one day event in 2019, the ‘Girls in Infrastructure’ event painted a smile on many girls’ faces on Tuesday 30 March, opening up a world of careers available to them, which many of them were previously unaware of.

Together with Women’s Infrastructure Network, Fulton Hogan Engineer Arden Hermans and a team of volunteers organised the event, inviting local students from Northland and Auckland along to an interactive day hosted at Golden Bay Cement, Whangarei. Sponsors included Fulton Hogan, Golden Bay Cement, KEP Consulting, and Northpower.

The event showcased the infrastructure industry to over 70 female students from schools as far north as Kaitaia and south as One Tree Hill.

Whangarei MP Dr Emily Henderson opened the event with an inspiring korero, followed by Josie Boyd, regional manager of Northpower, and Kelly Stevens, process engineering manager from Golden Bay Cement.

The Golden Bay Cement quarry and workshop presented an in depth insight into their operations, allowing the girls to see the largest loader in Northland, and a huge dump truck.

The machinery paddock was a big hit, thanks to the cement tanker, 60 tonne crane, Fulton Hogan’s chip and road drying trucks, and the Winstones Aggregate truck and trailer, all operated by females. Even though very tiny in comparison, the Hirepool scissor lift and 1.5 tonne digger stole the show and hearts of those in attendance.

During lunch, the girls heard from 21-year-old Alyssa Paki, who is an electrical apprentice at Northpower. She spoke about how she ventured in the opposite direction of her friends, and is now studying towards her electrical diploma.

Arden Hermans and Danielle Matika from Fulton Hogan spoke about their careers in areas ranging from civil engineering to machinery operating and traffic management, empathising that while university is a great choice, it’s not for everyone, and local education providers such as NorthTec are an option, whether you want to study full time, or work and study.

The day was interactive, informative, and fun, with companies from the industry and education providers showcasing the industry. Throughout the day, the girls enjoyed a private tour of the Golden Bay Cement plant, heavy machinery workshop and quarry.

“It was mesmerising, as it showcased their large operation, including their new tyre burning project. The project replaces coal with tyres, reducing a significant waste problem, and reuses a valuable resource, reducing carbon emissions by about 13,000 tonne a year,” says Arden.

Next year, the team hope to hold the event again, and to start to see those attending returning to present.

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