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Strong, diverse teams can shape a better world for future generations

17 June 2020

Rosheena Jugdhurry, a young structural engineer specialising in energy & maritime at Arup, wants to see an industry that celebrates and utilises the uniqueness of a diverse workforce to shape a better world.

Strong, diverse teams can shape a better world for future generations
Rosheena Jugdhurry

“I was 17 years old when I read about the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The damage it caused and the lives it cost really frustrated me and I thought surely there must be a cleaner and safer way to power our lives.

"At the same time, I was learning about the power of harnessing energy from natural resources and how it could help reduce our dependency on fossil fuels. But cost and economic viability were always a barrier. I felt motivated to change that. I started researching a possible career that would allow me to make this change and after much deliberation I decided to study civil engineering. I was determined to gain the skills and knowledge required to help the world shift away from fossil fuels.

Contributing to positive change within the industry

"Now that I am a civil engineer, I feel very fortunate to be able to contribute to making positive change. For me, going to work every day knowing that I am making a direct impact on making the world a more sustainable place is very motivating.

"I may be spending hours designing and optimising the foundation of an offshore wind turbine but knowing that this is part of making renewable energy more economical is very exciting. I couldn’t be in better hands than Arup, a company that has sustainable development at the core of its values and a place where people are valued and motivated to give their best.

Sustainable development is our only hope of a better world

"It’s a fact that human beings have not been using the earth’s resources in a very responsible way and this impacts people in different ways, causing poverty, inequality and energy scarcity. Today, we realise that this can’t continue and that sustainable development is the only way to make sure we keep growing in harmony with our planet to give a chance to future generations to enjoy a better world.

"Civil engineers are able to drive this change. Using our technical and leadership skills, we are able to design better solutions that use less natural resources. We can innovate to recycle and reuse existing assets and advise key policy makers to broaden their horizons to make the world a better place. And now we are able to use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a lens and framework to drive and measure positive change.

We shouldn’t be bound by labels of gender or race

"Ultimately, the only labels I’d like to see in our industry are those related to roles such as engineers, designers, planners and modellers and not those of gender, ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation or disability. However, we can’t ignore the fact that the construction industry today has a very low percentage of women and this is not helping us realise the full potential of an industry with a diverse workforce. This is why ‘International Women in Engineering Day’ and celebrating the contribution that women bring to the industry is important.

"I do believe that female engineers bring a unique contribution to the industry but I cannot point out what exactly, it will be different for every individual. Leaders and managers should be able to see what value that uniqueness brings to their teams, companies and therefore the industry.

"I see myself as an engineer who happens to be a woman. I believe that my strengths are my persistence to keep trying my best until I find a solution to a problem, my calm approach to a stressful situation and my professionalism. Those were the reasons why my team leader recruited me. I am fortunate that my skills and personality traits are valued and I am being guided to work on my weaknesses

"I believe that every engineer comes from a unique background with a unique skill set and personality trait. We should celebrate and empower each other and recognise that we cannot shape a better world on our own. We need to work as a team, a team full of people with different ideas and views.

A diverse workforce with creative thinking is the best route to success

Rosheena talks to primary school students on structural engineering
Rosheena talks to primary school students on structural engineering

"I strongly believe that we need a diverse workforce with broad ideas and thinking to truly shape a better world for everyone. Today, the industry’s workforce is unfortunately not representative of the diversity that exists in society, therefore we still need to actively work on attracting talent from all backgrounds.

"The effects of climate change and energy scarcity are now receiving more attention especially among young people. It is very encouraging to see them so engaged. As engineers, we have a responsibility to inspire future generations using the power of engineering to bring positive change to the world.

"By engaging with students through STEM activities, we are able to show them that engineering is fun, rewarding and open to anyone if they have the drive to make positive change. It is important to highlight that everyone can achieve the skills and knowledge with hardwork and perseverance irrespective of their background. We should aim to channel their enthusiasm and guide them into shaping a career of their own so that they can join us in addressing the global challenges.

Let’s celebrate diversity, inclusion and multi-culturalism

"To retain talent, it is important to value and motivate each other. The simplest way to do this is to recognise the power of being different and to celebrate our uniqueness. This is where diversity meets inclusion.

"There are many ways to make our colleagues feel included; on an individual basis we can be more engaged and interested in each other’s culture and backgrounds and be more supportive. On a corporate basis we can ensure that we are flexible enough to accommodate the needs of our employees, for example offering shared parental leave to give both parents the opportunity to care for their child thus enabling both parents to remain on track with their career progression. On an industry level, we can support our colleagues by providing guidance on how to tackle certain key issues such as the gender pay gap."

  • Rosheena Jugdhurry, Structural Engineer at Arup at Structural Engineer at Arup