Dulani Nanayakkara Takes Home NAWIC Award

Congratulations to Dulani Nanayakkara, Electrical Engineer, who last week won the 2019 National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Capital Region Student of the Year Award.

Recognised for her commitment to industry and to furthering her education, Dulani acknowledges her thrill and excitement in receiving the award. She says, “I’ve been juggling my career, education and extra-curricular activities over the past few years so the award is a great bit of recognition for a lot of hard work.”

 

Currently studying for her master’s degree in Power Engineering, Dulani has recently transitioned from our Building Services team to our QLD Power team whilst still based in Canberra. “I chose my degree with the idea of broadening my knowledge on bigger projects and to pursue technical excellence in that field,” explains Dulani.

 

“Having only just begun my transition into the Power team, I have found the process smooth. The supportive culture of the firm has made the process of exploring a career in the Power sector easy.

 

“To get the ball rolling, I travelled to Traralgon in rural Victoria to understand the scope of one of our projects, the Valley Power Gas fired Power Station, which confirmed to me why I wanted a change. The scale and complexity of the project had me in awe.

 

We need to better focus our efforts on creating an appealing pathway for women into engineering. It always surprises me to hear that a lot of school-aged children have no idea what engineers do!
Dulani Nanayakkara Electrical Engineer

 

Coincidentally, her first role in the Power team is a secondment to Snowy Hydro – an energy generator and provider, and the operator of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. She adds, “This secondment has meant a move back to Cooma in Southern NSW where I grew up. Having seen the positive impact the project has had on the region as the lifeblood of the community for many years, it’s been exciting to head home.

 

“Since it began in the 1940s, the Snowy Hydro Scheme has been an icon for multi-culturalism, something that I’m really passionate about.”

 

Active in promoting engineering as a diverse and inclusive profession, Dulani believes that more needs to be done to promote the technical side of the industry to women. “Our Power team is well balanced in terms of gender, especially in the technical field, but this is not the case across the entire business or indeed across the industry,” explains Dulani.

 

“I believe there are barriers to entry for women in engineering or STEM more broadly. Having spent a lot of time working with industry groups such as NAWIC, the Property Council of Australia and volunteering in a program called Robogals, I believe the solution starts in schools.

 

“We need to better focus our efforts on creating an appealing pathway for women into engineering. It always surprises me to hear that a lot of school-aged children have no idea what engineers do!”

 

2020 is set to be a milestone year for Dulani. In bring in the New Year, Dulani will be jetting off to Sri Lanka to get married. Once she returns, she is planning on getting back into Netball and Dance, two activities that had to be put on the back burner while she focused on work and study.

 

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