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‘It’s great to feel like I’m really making a difference’: Construction site engineer Rosilene Pinheiro

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By Shayna Sappington
20th Sep 2023
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‘It’s great to feel like I’m really making a difference’: Construction site engineer Rosilene Pinheiro

As a construction site engineer, Rosilene Pinheiro foregoes office days for job site walkthroughs. Here, she shares more about her role and how she hopes to inspire other women to join the industry's ranks.

Not your typical nine-to-five, Rosilene Pinheiro spends most of her work days on a construction site, executing a role she’s truly passion about – site engineer for Glenveagh, one of Ireland’s leading homebuilders.

Working across multiple projects in a fast-paced and typically male-dominated environment, she’s gleaned many insights along the way, from complex problem-solving to effective communication skills. In these ways, she’s learned how to value the unique perspective she brings to the job.

What sparked your interest in the Irish construction industry?

The Irish construction industry is known for its professionalism, and I wanted to work in a country where I could gain more experience and showcase my own expertise. So, I thought, “Why not go there to use the experience that I’d gained in Brazil?”. The diversity in the Irish construction industry also motivated me to come to Ireland and join Glenveagh. I haven’t looked back since and I am delighted to say that Irish people are very culturally open and receptive, so I’ve really enjoyed the experience and thankfully, have felt very welcome.

Tell us a bit about your current role as Site Engineer.

My role varies from being responsible for planning, marking out, and levelling construction sites before any building work takes place. It’s an interesting role – it’s great to feel like I’m really making a difference and I’m playing a key part in the creation of much-needed housing developments in Ireland. 

What do you like most about your job? What do you find the most challenging?

I’m a very curious person so I love to be constantly learning, and that’s certainly the case in this role. I can truly say I’m doing what I love. I have always been passionate about technology, logic, and how things can work. I believe that the main function of an engineer is transforming complex and difficult-to-solve problems into simple solutions using the resources at hand, and to do this, we must be able to work well with others and collaborate for the best possible outcome.

It’s vital in my role that I have good relationships with peers, employees, and directors. When I first joined, I found communicating with people across various sites challenging. There can be language barriers and different personalities on a construction site, but I find the people in Glenveagh to be very helpful and accommodating, and the level of collaboration and teamwork here is really striking.

The construction industry has traditionally been male-dominated on construction sites, and truthfully, I did find this intimidating when I first joined the industry. It was evident really quickly though that the site team and managers value their people based on their work, not their ethnicity, gender, or any other prejudice. It was refreshing to feel welcome in such a big company.

Tell us about one of your favourite projects to date.

I’ve worked on a wide range of projects since joining Glenveagh, and they all stood out to me for different reasons. I’m currently working on a residential site in Navan and I’m finding it to be the most interesting site to date. There is a wide variety of buildings and groundwork to be done, and it’s really satisfying to know that the work I’m doing will have an impact on the lives of so many people who will eventually move into these houses. I can genuinely say I’ve never had a boring day at work.

Name a wrong assumption people often make about your role.

I cannot generalise, but sometimes people believe that women are fragile and that they cannot carry out the work of a site engineer, which is completely untrue. The role does not only require characteristics such as strength and stamina, but it also requires intellectual ability, which can’t be defined by gender. I feel like women bring a different perspective to the table and thankfully, I feel appreciated and respected by my colleagues; I feel like this is a place where I fit in.

I believe the assumption that women cannot work in construction comes from the fact that there just aren’t enough of us in the industry, and I am glad to see that this is beginning to change. I’m really proud to be a woman working on site and hopefully, I can inspire other females to do the same.

As a female in a male-dominated environment, have you ever faced any adversity in your role? If so, how did you overcome this?

Thankfully, Glenveagh has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to disrespect in the workplace, so luckily any kind of adversity and any unpleasant situations are simply not tolerated. I’ve always felt empowered to speak up in a situation where I’ve felt uncomfortable or disrespected.

As one of Ireland’s leading homebuilders, Glenveagh’s vision is that everyone should have the opportunity to access affordable, high-quality homes in flourishing communities across Ireland. They prioritise diversity and inclusivity across the company and are on a mission to break the male-dominated stereotype of the construction industry, encouraging women from all different backgrounds to join their team.