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Women hold their own on the Connections Project

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March 14, 2018

Women in Connections: Emma Bamford, Natalie Sharp, Jane Barnes and Brooke Gillies.

When it comes to women working in construction, the Connections Project is bucking the trend.

The Goulburn-Murray Water project employs more than three times the average number of women in its field.

Labour Force statistics showed that in 2016, only 12 per cent of employees in the construction industry were female.

This compares to more than 40 per cent of the Connections team being women.

In addition, the project’s senior leadership team is also made up of 40 per cent women.

Gathering on International Women’s Day last Wednesday, members of the team agreed working for the country’s biggest irrigation modernisation project allowed them to progress their careers while contributing to infrastructure development within their local communities.

Engagement officer Jane Barnes has worked for the project for about five years and said it provided an opportunity for her to continue working in her fields of science and agriculture.

‘‘Engaging with so many wonderful people is one of my favourite parts of the job. Every Connections experience has been, and will continue to be, completely different,’’ Ms Barnes said.

‘‘It is so rewarding to talk to a customer after their Connections work is complete and receive positive feedback about how it has improved their irrigation practices.’’

Engineer Natalie Sharp joined the project three years ago as systems, risk and quality manager after 15 years managing projects in the rural water industry.

She said the project allowed her to follow her passion using practical mathematics and science to solve problems.

‘‘I have spent many years working on irrigation water savings investigations throughout Australia, undertaking studies and modelling that have underpinned significant government investment in irrigation modernisation, both on-farm and through the distribution networks,’’ she said.

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