CommunityDarwinLifeFebruary 2016


Josefa Tchong and Cielo Alvaran

The opportunity to work in a dynamic environment on challenging but rewarding projects attracted young engineers Josefa Tchong and Cielo Alvaran to the Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure to begin what they envisage will be long careers in the construction industry.
Both young women acknowledge that engineering is not yet as popular a career path for women as it is for men, but strongly believe a career in construction is something more women should consider. Josefa and Cielo have thrived in their work on civil projects in the Department, where they have both been part of the graduate program. During this program, they have rotated through different sections, enjoying the opportunity to work on multi-faceted projects and gain solid experience.
“As a Graduate Engineer for the Civil Services Section and the Department for the last year and as a student and undergraduate engineer for the four years before that, I believe that not only have I learnt so much and gained experience in the last five years, I have also contributed to the projects I have been involved in, the sections I have worked during my placements in DoI and to the construction industry in the NT in general,” Cielo said.
Cielo, 24, was the first female in her family to enter the engineering field, partly inspired by her father, an engineer for the oil and gas industry.
“I grew up being interested in and analysing how things around us work, and how they are designed and constructed,” she said.
Josefa, also 24, was drawn to study engineering because she wanted to be part of growth and development projects that help build communities. In her placements in Major Projects and Bitumen sections of the Department, Josefa has worked on regional subdivision developments and road resealing and asphalt projects.
“I love to see things develop into something that is beneficial to the community, for example, a greenfield site transformed into a fire station or recreational park. I am passionate about the construction industry and excited to be part of the development of the Northern Territory.”
Both Cielo and Josefa have become role models among their peers and in their community for what they have already achieved in their engineering careers, and each aim to inspire other women to make their careers in engineering or construction.
“I have provided advice and information to women to move in the construction industry and identified opportunities for them, bearing in mind that there is a large demand in this industry,” Cielo said. “I envisage that in the future this industry will consist of a more gender balanced workforce such that women who are interested will not be intimidated.”
“In achieving my Engineering Degree and now working in construction, I have become a role model to my female family and friends,” Josefa said. “I believe that it is an honour and a great achievement mostly because in my culture, it is not common for women to work in the construction industry, let alone working as leaders or managers.”
Josefa sees a long future with DoI and aspires to be a Project Manager. She would also love to work overseas in the future.
“My long term dream is to one day become a part of an engineering team to construct roads and subdivisions in my parent’s hometown in Timor Leste,” she said. “I want to increase awareness around the importance of gender diversity.”