RLB leads the way in attracting women to STEM

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Stephen Mee


Stephen Mee


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A grass-roots approach to attracting young women to STEM is essential in creating greater gender diversity in the construction and engineering sectors.

Groundbreaking program encourages and inspires girls

Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB) has been instrumental in developing a groundbreaking school engagement program with partners Laing O’Rourke and Dexus, to encourage and inspire secondary school girls to become involved in these male-dominated industries.

Matthew Harris, Managing Director of RLB commented, ‘By fostering a passion and interest in our industry as a rewarding career path, students in the early years of secondary education will be guided towards science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects.’

Gender diversity vital to our economy

According to the latest research, a focus on STEM is vital to Australia’s economy, contributing to more than a quarter of Australia’s economic activity. Yet women are severely under-represented, making up only 16% of those with STEM qualifications. A lack of retention and progression in STEM have signalled barriers and entrenched gender inequalities, which this program is looking to tackle head on.

Over 50 students from Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College, North Sydney, are undertaking the school engagement program, which teaches key elements of the construction industry through theory and site visits, including quantity surveying, project management, building and development principles.

Giving students a hands-on approach to learning

Dexus’ current development – 100 Mount Street, North Sydney, is being used as the exemplar project for the program. It is being constructed by Laing O’Rourke with quantity surveying and cost management being provided by RLB.

Matthew continued, ‘This 34-level premium office building will give students the opportunity to learn and experience the various roles and processes involved in such an impressive development near their school, interacting with professionals and getting a hands-on approach.’

Committed to providing experience and knowledge

The program starts in year 9 and as an incentive, both RLB and Laing O’Rourke are offering a university scholarship to complete a building or engineering degree followed by a cadetship in their North Sydney offices.

Ultimately, we would like to see this program expand throughout the secondary education system,’ said Matthew.

Attracting Women to STEM Boardroom Lunch

RLB recently hosted the Attracting Women to STEM Boardroom Lunch to raise awareness of the program and facilitate a round-table discussion with school principals and industry leaders.

Casey Lloyd, an ex Monte student who is currently undertaking RLB’s undergraduate program as an Assistant Surveyor provided a short address.