What does your current job involve?
At this stage in my career I’m usually either leading a team of architects and assistant architects and interfacing with other disciplines, or managing a multidisciplinary team to deliver transport related projects. I also occasionally help on bids relevant to my skills and/or experience.
I’m currently working on a number of projects all related to Transport. For the past year, since my return from a twelve month secondment in Australia, I have been involved in some way or other with the refurbishment of Waterloo International Terminal (WIT). Network Rail is investing to improve and increase the capacity of London Waterloo by refurbishing the former WIT for domestic services. These works will also provide the opportunity for London and Continental Railways Limited to re-use substantial areas of WIT which are not required for operationa purposes, to provide new retail uses. The latest project I have been working on involves the detail, design and development of infrastructure supporting High Speed 2.
Have you been involved in any major transport projects that you would like to tell us about?
Since July 2017 I have been involved as Project Manager and Principal Designer on Transport for Greater Manchester's Connected Wayfinding Pilot Scheme which is developing the next generation of wayfinding for Greater Manchester. This is a very exciting project which, in conjunction with our sub-consultants wayfinding specialists , Spaceagency, we are designing a scheme similar to the well known Transport for London Legible London scheme. In addition to a number of freestanding wayfinding totems to be located within Manchester City Centre between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria Stations, the scheme will also include more than 60 onward journey and stopfinder maps at Metrolink and Bus Stops within the pilot area; and 200,000 printed city centre maps. The graphics and information will be interlinked, facilitating ease of use.
This is the first project in which I have been so actively involved in developing the tender documentation and planning submissions for the Client. I’m really looking forward to visiting Manchester City Centre in early 2019 to see the final product on the ground.
How did you get into the transport industry?
In all honesty my involvement in the Transport/Rail Industry happened completely by chance when I came to London on an IAESTE internship and ended up working on the DLR extension to Stratford International for the 2012 Olympics. I had never even thought I’d work in such an industry, being that Malta, my country of origin, has only ever had one railway line which operated from just 1883 to 1931. However, I do feel that my choice of subjects and specialisation at the University of Malta provided me with a great foundation for my career in this industry.
What do you like about working in transport?
Although getting involved in the transport industry was purely incidental, my staying wasn’t. My strong belief in the principle that ‘form follows function’, my desire to give something back to communities and to do my bit for the environment amalgamates well with many of the projects I get to work on - usually involving the refurbishment of London’s existing rail infrastructure and improving the daily commute for millions of Londoners.
How did you get to join Women in Transport and what is your role at Women in Transport?
In 2015, just before heading for my year secondment in Australia to work with the independent certification team on the Sydney Metro Northwest, I co-founded Women at Weston Williamson (W@WW) . It was then through some online searches that I came across Women in Transport (then still WTS London) and promptly became a member. I was impressed by the number and quality of events that the team were organising. On my return from Australia I mailed Women in Transport asking how I could help. It transpired that a Board Secretary was needed. I first met Christine Hurley, who is Executive Support and first point of contact for Women in Transport, to discuss the role. A week or so later I had an introductory meeting with some of the other board members, including then President, Camilla Ween and then Events and CPD Chair, Sonya Veerasamy. The rest, as they say, is history.
I feel very blessed to have joined the Women in Transport board just as they were about to rebrand, because I really do feel that this not-for-profit organisation has achieved so much in such a short space of time since. It is an honour to work with such an inspiring and driven group of people and I look forward to doing my bit for as long as they’ll have me or work/life commitments allow.
What are you most proud of?
My biggest professional achievement to date has been successfully leading for about three years a multidisciplinary design team developing the detailed design for the Mile End Park and Eleanor Street Crossrail shafts and successfully engaging with Crossrail’s Chief Engineering Group (CEG). I also feel that my efforts at the time contributed to Costain Skanska Joint Venture (CSJV) going on to successfully win work with WW+P on three additional Crossrail shafts - Limmo, Fisher Street and Stepney Green shafts.
What would your advice be to women interested in roles like yours?
I recommend anyone interested in the transport industry tries to experience a variety of internships with TfL, Network Rail, Crossrail, HS2 and other rail operators, relevant engineering and architectural firms before or during university. There are so many roles within the transport industry, that they shouldn’t limit themselves to only the standard professions people seem to know about.
How should we encourage young people to pursue a career in transport?
For those who are seeking a meaningful career, this is definitely an industry they should consider since statistics show that there is a skills shortage in transport and construction. These industries are also very good for those who may be interested in working in different countries, as the skills are mostly transferable.
In addition, we professionals need to get out and meet with young children early on, to help schools inform students of the opportunities out there. We can’t leave it just to teachers and parents. There are a number of organisations trying to interest the younger generation in STEM and construction. I’ve volunteered before with Inspiring The Future, STEMettes and Girlguiding. Women in transport will also be building on this in 2018. Get in touch with us by emailing us at email@example.com should you want to get involved.