23 June 2023

Sheewani Bastola – Estimating Assistant BMD (NSW)

At BMD, our business is our people, and we genuinely believe it is our family orientated culture that sets us apart and makes our business a great place to work. 

The inclusion of women in the construction and engineering industry is a key priority for our business. We’re committed to driving positive change by creating an inclusive environment that embraces equity and diversity and provides our people with the best opportunities to thrive. 

This International Women in Engineering Day provides a timely opportunity to celebrate BMD’s women in engineering and learn more about their career journey as we head towards our collective goal to bring more women into construction.

As an engineer at BMD, my role is…

I am an Estimating Assistant at BMD in New South Wales. I work within the tender team and have a range of different responsibilities as part of my role, including pricing jobs, pricing overheads, developing an accurate scope of works, and preparing the bill of quantities, and populating quotes for projects to secure the best price. Ultimately, it is my job to ensure we are inputting the most accurate information into a tender proposal to eventually deliver the job on time, on budget and at the highest quality. 

What was your journey to becoming an engineer? 

I have always found it interesting to learn how people find their careers. One of my favourite things to learn about is how civil engineers came to industry and why. For some, it is a straight and deliberate path. For me, my dad being a civil contractor, construction has always been a part of my life, and my personality of always wanting to learn and being a naturally curious individual, I wanted to pursue my career someday as a civil engineer.  Therefore, I chose to become an engineer.

I studied a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in Bangalore and did my Master of Project Management for Engineers in Central Queensland at CQ University. I started my career as an engineer in 2020. 

Have you faced any unique challenges as a woman in engineering?

In my experience, Australia appears to support women in every field possible. However, as the construction industry is still heavily male dominated, I’ve noticed many women are nervous to enter the industry and compete with men. For example, my friend who is a woman engineer found a job in Australia but had to quit because she wasn’t treated well or experience pay equity, which she believed was due to her race and gender. This caused her to leave the industry. 

In your experience, how does BMD support women in technical roles like engineering? 

BMD believes in equity, not just equality. We have established a Women at BMD Group body who have been creating progressive actions to create a positive working environment for women. BMD is also a corporate member of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), which provides women employees with an opportunity to connect with peers from across the industry, including mentoring programs and added benefits. Finally, BMD is working on retraining women through different pathways to encourage career progression, by providing opportunities for training and development. 

Do you have any advice for other women who are considering becoming an engineer? 

I feel there is more need of women in this industry. Try it, see it if you like, work hard and never be afraid to ask questions because that’s how you learn. Don’t be afraid to speak up against any kind of inequalities that you face in the industry because it will mean that you won’t face them alone. We are needed in this industry – we are essential.

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