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blog: Women Supporting Women

Author: Stephanie Meyers

Where are all the women?

I started my career as a fresh-faced graduate in 2010. At that time, it wasn’t uncommon to be the only woman in a technical meeting, or to attend an industry event surrounded by (mainly) white, middle-aged men. It’s an experience I heard from other female colleagues in the industry time and time again. The profession seemed to lack diversity, not just in terms of gender balance, but also representation from different social and cultural backgrounds. As well as presenting a barrier to individuals’ professional development, this is a technical issue because by seeing transport challenges predominantly through one lens means we may not truly be delivering transport solutions that will meet the needs of all.

Things are changing and I’m heartened to see more women are choosing to join the transport planning and engineering professions. Where I’m based in Nottingham, just under half of our team of 17 are women. For context, at one point 10 years ago, I was the only one in our office. With a more equal gender balance emerging across the profession, we need to continue to support more of these women to accelerate their careers, to provide leadership opportunities and ensure there are female role models for those joining the profession, both in the UK and abroad.

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Collaboration not competition

In 2021, ITP’s parent company Royal HaskoningDHV established their UK/Vietnam Women Empowerment Programme, an internal, all-women, peer-to-peer mentoring scheme aimed at inspiring and supporting colleagues in Vietnam with their career development, supporting cross-business line collaboration and closing the gender pay gap abroad.

I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the programme for the past 8 months and been partnered with Loc Nguyen, an 3D/AutoCad Specialist in Royal HaskoningDHV’s Maritime division. We’ve shared experiences around confidence building in the workplace, career aspirations and personal growth, how to market your personal skills and abilities; and reflecting on the importance of a positive work/life balance. It’s been a truly rewarding experience, exceeding all my expectations of what an international mentoring programme could entail. Our monthly mentoring sessions via Teams have not only provided the opportunity develop softer workplace skills, but also talk about our real-life experiences of challenges in the workplace and possible solutions. It’s very much been a two-way learning experience and reflecting on the journey so far it has cemented my view that as women we should be supporting and encouraging each other to achieve our ambitions.

Whist this specific programme has been coordinated by Royal HaskoningDHV, ITP also invest heavily in their team. An in-house mentoring programme provides the opportunity for all colleagues to discuss professional opportunities and our new SUNRISE graduate training programme provides a structured route for career progression for those in the first four years of their careers.

To find out more about what it’s like to work at ITP or to join our team, please visit: Working at ITP - Integrated Transport Planning


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