00:00:03 My name’s Sally S and I’m Market Sector Director for Halcrow. In my day to day work I’m responsible for overseeing bids and tender documents that we prepare to help us win work, and also I’m involved in project delivery, so I undertake technical reviews for the projects in which I’m involved.
00:00:20 What I’ve really enjoyed about the job that I do at the moment, is that a lot of the projects in which I’m involved have a really positive benefit to some of the local communities. We do a lot of work in Wales – in the Neath Valley we’ve undertaken two quite large projects there. And that’s involved building new flood defences alongside the River Neath. So that’s resulted in improved flood protection for those communities.
00:00:49 As a young child I was inspired by the building of the Severn Bridge. Just the spectacle of seeing this, you know, fantastic bridge being built, inspired me to go into engineering.
00:01:01 The sort of student I was at High School was one who was really interested in Maths and Physics. I went to an all girl school, and I think that was quite an important factor in me deciding to go on to – to go on to engineering. When I actually joined the course at Portsmouth Polytechnic, I was just one of three girls amongst over a hundred boys, so I could see then that it was a bit of an unusual choice.
00:01:25 After my degree I applied to a small consultancy, and was very much a junior who was helping all of the senior engineers who worked at that practice. One of the senior engineers I reported to was a fantastic Syrian lady, who was the epitome of femininity. She used to have very long red nails and wear fluffy angora dresses. So she really showed me that to be an engineer didn’t – meant that you didn’t have to be dowdy that you could – you could be comfortable in being a woman, and that, you know, it really didn’t matter, she still had the respect of her colleagues. So she was a great role model to follow.
00:02:02 I think one of the main turning points was having a family. I made that choice to become Chartered before I started a family and took a career break, with the idea that it would be easier to get a job and come back into the industry, having that qualification.
00:02:19 I applied to the Environment Agency for my first job back, and they were reluctant to offer me a full-time position. I was only able to secure a temporary contract, because they weren’t convinced really that, as a working Mum, somebody who’d been out of the scene for two years, was going to be able to do the job. And whilst at the same time a man was interviewed, he wasn’t Chartered, but he got the permanent position. That didn’t sit very well at the time, but I just thought – well carry on, not let it bother me. And then I had the opportunity, a few months later, of applying for a permanent position, and of course I got the job.
00:02:59 One of the most stressful times in my career was when I worked part-time, when I was a young working Mum. When I was at work, in the office, I felt like I had to give a hundred and ten percent to show that I wasn’t letting my colleagues down. Didn’t even feel I could take a coffee break. And then when I got home, I thought well because I’m working part-time, everything in the house should be pristine, and clean and tidy, and extremely well organised.
00:03:26 Where I see myself in the future, is getting more involved with the Profession. I’m a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers Wales Committee, and I’m to take up the Chair position in 2010. I’d really like to be able to, as a result of that, show that women can achieve those sorts of positions in engineering, and I’d like to have a theme that will help promote that.