Northern Ireland civil engineer earns multiple accolades

Rahma Farrag has scooped up two awards for her work at Atkins in Belfast.

Rahma at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards.
Rahma at the Royal Academy of Engineering Awards.

2016 has been a hallmark year for Rahma Farrag. The assistant engineer at Atkins in Belfast has earned prestigious recognition – not only did she receive the Royal Academy of Engineering Rising Star Award, but she was also a Best Civil Engineer Finalist for the 2016 European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards.

As an assistant project manager, Rahma is currently responsible for design co-ordination and delivery of the Manfouha Sewage Treatment Works in Riyadh. Drawing on her upbringing in Cairo, Egypt, Rahma is able to impart invaluable cultural knowledge to her colleagues and assists her team in overcoming communication barriers with both clients and contractors in the Arab market.

She played an instrumental role in Atkins' tender success, design development and subsequent detailed design delivery of the water storage facility in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – a project which holds a Guinness World Record.

"It was one of my proudest achievements in my career," Rahma said. "This showcased my ability to converse and read in Arabic, as well as my managerial and organisational abilities, leading to my promotion to the role of design coordinator for the project."

In addition to her daily engineering duties, Rahma is passionate about setting a positive example for others – particularly for women and girls. She recently went to her former school, Hunterhouse College, to share her experiences of working in the UK and internationally with the pupils there.

"It was surprising to see how many pupils didn't know about engineering and what it involves – this is something we need to work on," Rahma said. "Being a female engineer in Arab culture poses further challenges, and it is imperative that we tackle and change the perceptions of women in the industry."

Rahma was also featured in ICE's National Women in Engineering Day 2016 video – watch the video below.