Ali MacAdam will speak at Torquay Girls' Grammar School Credit: Robby Whitfield

Construction supremo Ailie MacAdam to join Build Torbay careers event

Nikki Belso

Build Torbay, in partnership with Torquay Girls’ Grammar School, invites Torbay students to an inspirational careers event this autumn to showcase the rewarding career opportunities in the built environment sector.

Headline speaker is Ailie MacAdam, Bechtel senior vice president and president of their mining and metals global business unit – who will be streamed into the Torbay event live by video-link from Pittsburgh, USA.

Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government.

Since 1898, Bechtel has helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.

Ailie MacAdam has headed up some of the world’s largest projects including the Boston Big Dig, High Speed 1, Crossrail and the Sydney Metro.

Speaking on Radio 4’s Life Scientific programme, Ailie said she 'got the urban infrastructure bug' and wants to encourage more young women to go into construction and engineering so they don’t miss out on the fascinating world of creating the built environment.

Complementing the headline speaker will be live-the-room rising stars in the regional construction sector: former TGGS student Amber Gratton-Davey, now a site manager at Vistry Partnerships, Kier Construction’s corporate social responsibility manager Fallon Hart and Willmott Dixon’s social value manager Daffne Aguilar.

This prestigious line up of professional women is committed to sharing their experiences with others to inspire young people making their career choices.

The aim is to showcase the variety and appeal of the sector so that students can explore training pathways into the 180 different job roles in construction and engineering.

The event, on October 4, is open to all Torbay pupils in Years 10 and 11 who are considering their next options.

TGGS lecture theatre has a capacity of 150 and the event will also be streamed online.

Ailie MacAdam said: “Helping the environment, connecting communities, helping people live their lives, helping people in a crisis: that is what engineering is all about and that is why I love it, so I want to inspire more young people to enter this exciting sector which has led me to work on huge projects all over the world.

“But it’s not just about informing girls and boys about engineering; it is about getting to their parents too,” she said.

“Studies show that the decision about the kind of careers people enter is heavily influenced by their parents.

"I want to help change the cultural perception of engineering and construction so that both parents and their children have the right input to make their decisions on – engineering is such an exciting and meaningful career.”

Councillor Swithin Long, Torbay Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing said: “We want to inspire young people to look into the exciting and rewarding careers on offer through working in the built environment.

“Torbay Council has been very successful in funding bids for regeneration projects that are creating new spaces for people to thrive in the Bay – so we want to encourage as many of our young people as possible to take up the high-value career opportunities presented by these schemes.

"That’s why we’ve set up Build Torbay to work with construction companies to inspire a future workforce about the industry.”

Councillor Darren Cowell, Torbay Council’s deputy leader and Cabinet member for finance, said: “Women make up only 14 per cent of the construction sector with only three per cent working on sites – so a particular message goes out to Torbay girls who may have not yet considered this area of work: It’s well paid, offers daily variety with excellent career pathways and the chance to work anywhere in the world or stay local to your area.

“I want to thank our inspirational speakers for sharing their passion about the industry and being role models for the young people of Torbay.”

Gordon Neighbour, Torbay Girls’ Grammar School careers lead, said: “Our school motto is: Dare to be Wise. So want to encourage all of our girls - as well as other students in Torbay - to make wise career choices that will give them the best future whether they want to stay in the Bay or pursue a global career.

“I’m particularly keen on addressing the gender pay gap and looking at sectors on the Government’s skills shortage list; and the built environment is one such area where top-rated companies are offering very attractive earning and career progression potential.

“We welcome students from all Torbay schools to our exciting event where we will hear from a world-class leader as well as regional inspirational women working in the built environment.”

All Torbay secondary schools will be contacted by Build Torbay to bring students to the event in person, and anyone can attend the event online by registering here on Eventbrite.

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