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On Tuesday 28 June, our Geotechnics Auckland office welcomed 40 high school girls to their labs as part of the Connexis Girls with Hi-Vis initiative.

Girls with Hi-Vis gives high school students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, hear from inspirational women in the industry and learn what a career in infrastructure can offer.

Students from St Dominic’s College, St Mary’s College, St Cuthbert’s College and Kelston Girls’ College donned their Hi-Vis and began the day with an intro to Geotechnics and the Connexis Ultimit: Women in Infrastructure initiative which Girls with Hi-Vis falls under.

A Connexis representative listed highlights of the industry including learning while you earn, making a difference to communities, hands-on and varied work, and working with teams.

The students heard from Brigitte Sargent, Geosales National Manager, Charlotte Mellar, Team Leader, and Caitlyn Gillard, Laboratory Technician about how they got into the field and what they love about their jobs.

Caitlyn told the students about how women really shine in what can feel like a male-dominated industry. “We’re really excited to open up these doors to the industry and give you lots of options for the future.”

The students got the chance to do hands-on activities, including measuring equipment with Annalyse Ryan, Metrologist, liquid and plasticity soil testing with Caitlyn, and concrete testing with Joshua Girvan, Concrete and Field Technician.

One of the students, Samry, said she came along to the event as she was curious about what kind of people worked at Geotechnics and what the work looked like.

“It was really interesting to learn how the staff got into their roles, as most of them said they started off without a pathway and ended up finding their way here and loving it. Their jobs are so unique.”

Brigitte says Geotechnics were thrilled to host their first Girls with Hi-Vis event.

“It’s important to have women in our industry as they often see things differently and bring a different point of view.  They are also great at looking after machinery and are thoughtful towards others.  It’s about having different kinds of people, so we have diversity in our teams, strengths, and thinking,” she says.

She says it’s great for students to learn about the testing side of engineering, which people don’t hear about as often.