Arleta Andreasik-Paton, an engineering project manager at Aecom, has been awarded Role Model of the Year at UK Construction Week (UKCW).
Recognised for her passion for inspiring the next generation into construction, Arleta was presented with her award by Steph McGovern, journalist at BBC Breakfast and Barbara Res, the female engineer behind Trump Tower, at UKCW yesterday (10 October 2018).
Judged by Nottingham Academy for Girls, the students awarded Arleta for her determination to strive within the construction industry and were entertained by her own inspiration – wanting to build her own house after watching her dad and grandad build an extension.
Mairead Gallagher, BIM coordinator at Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, and Christina Riley, senior construction planner and an equality, diversity and inclusion champion at Kier Group, were both highly commended.
The students were also particularly impressed by Avi Contracts’ project surveyor, Anjali Pindoria, for her continued efforts encouraging black, Asian and minority ethnic people into the construction industry.
Arleta said: “When Steph started talking and I realised I had won I got quite emotional. It means so much that the students chose me and could identify with my story. I’m not from a construction background, but I moved into the industry with transferrable skills, studied while on the job and here I am now. It’s a privilege to be able to become a role model for other talented young people who can find wonderful careers in construction.”
Nathan Garnett, UKCW event director, said: “Our role models initiative aims to encourage new talent into the industry, and this campaign gave us a fantastic opportunity to work with Nottingham Academy for Girls. We have loved hearing directly from the students about what inspires them.
“There can of course only be one winner, but all those shortlisted can be proud of the hard work, dedication and ultimately, the change that they are bringing to the construction industry.”
Arleta and all of the shortlisted role models will continue to take part in activities with schools and colleges to break down barriers and stereotypes associated with construction.
Much discussion has taken place around diversity and changing the industry’s image during UK Construction Week. Role models have been taking part in seminars alongside expert speakers on political correctness and tips on creating a more diverse workplace.
Keynote speaker, Barbara Res, also encouraged women in construction to talk to each other and not to blame themselves when faced with discrimination.