Role. The new director of Works Plus with Circular Head Council, Lee Partridge is keeping true to her values.
Completing her education at Hellyer College in Burnie, Lee spent part of her childhood living across the north west coast before moving to Queensland where she has spent more than a decade working with the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Dropping by to visit her father at work as a project engineer throughout her childhood, Lee gained insight into the engineering and construction industries early in life and says more exposure is needed to encourage young women into what is traditionally a male-dominated industry.
“More women are entering into this field but often women will go into environmental engineering because there is that community side to it whereas construction isn’t seen as something that women have tended to enter into,” she says.
“I’ve been involved in women in technology programs in my previous role and a lot of girls in schools don’t know what engineering entails and they don’t know the broadness of the field.
“If you don’t know at school that engineering is an option for you, then women often just cross it off the list and don’t consider it.”
While moving from the north west coast was not in her original plan, having gained experience and knowledge working in various roles throughout the past 13 years has paid off.
Striving to achieve the best in all aspects of her work, Lee completed two degrees including civil engineering as well as a Diploma of Project Management all the while working full time.
“I wanted to progress across and understand all facets of the field,” she says.
“Construction is only one component – I have moved through planning, development and construction which I believe gives me a well-rounded view of what’s involved.”
Since joining the local Works Plus team, the average day begins at seven in the morning when the crew meets to review the work plan for the day ahead.
“The team is really good because we have local people who have a lot of local knowledge; and we have people who come from here originally but have worked away for 10 or 20 years and come back with a different skillset.”
The change of scenery brings with it new challenges also.
“You’re closer to the community in local government whereas at state government you’re at that level above, you’re more removed.”
Therefore navigating community concerns can be a challenge: “For me, that is probably one of the biggest challenges and also the biggest reward . . . seeing a project come to fruition.”
Satisfaction also comes in continually learning and evolving in the role and as an individual: “You’re working with a team and everyone has different knowledge, so it’s good to sit down at project meetings and learn from other team members and gain their input – it really does require teamwork.
“But it is also challenging, because you are working with people and you don’t know everything, you can’t always think that you are on top of everything all the time because every project is unique. And while the processes might be the same there will be different issues that come up.”
Lee says she hopes to bring a fresh perspective to the team and encourage more young women to explore outside of the norm.