Diversity and inclusion is one of MEVA’s core values and something we feel very strongly about. To celebrate our female engineers, we spoke to Rochelle Belaro and Sunshine Panem, both of whom are Junior Formwork Designers in MEVA UAE about their experiences.
What made you choose to work for a formwork company?
Sunshine: As we all know, MEVA Formwork is a leading international manufacturer of formwork system. I see this opportunity as a way to contribute to an exciting and fast-moving company and I believe this is somewhere my skills and experience in construction and formwork can be put to great use and somewhere I can learn and develop from some of the best people in the industry.
Rochelle: Prior to working at MEVA, my line of work was in Property Management when I was still in the Philippines. When I came to UAE to be with my parents, I said to myself that I wanted to have a job that was related to my profession, which is civil engineering. I heard that there was a job opening for a formwork designer so I applied. When I was being interviewed and I was shown what formwork designing is and how it works, I was immediately fascinated with it and knew I wanted to do it as well as be a part of this company.
What does your daily work involve?
Sunshine: As a formwork design engineer, I prepare and review structural and architectural details, as-built plans, and shop drawings, prepare formwork layout designs, develop the materials list, prepare quotations and calculations, and control both internal and external project documents. I also monitor the delivery of the materials to site. I’ve worked on commercial buildings, residential buildings, mid-rise and high-rise buildings since joining MEVA.
Rochelle: I prepare formwork drawings and materials lists for all formwork systems offered in the UAE (walls, columns, core walls, climbing system, beam and slab formwork,) depending on the client requirements. I also prepare structural calculations for the formwork systems we supply for our projects. I have worked on high-rise and mid-rise hotel towers, commercial and residential buildings, and residential villas (to name a few).
What do you like about your work?
Sunshine: I like seeing a project through from beginning to end, and it’s nice to see something that I worked hard on. Also, I like being able to work virtually and having a forward-thinking employer. Having awesome co-workers where everyone shares their learning, and a supportive company that realises employees are their best asset is another benefit.
Rochelle: I like that there’s something new to learn every day. We are designing different formwork systems for different structures regularly so it’s a challenging and exciting job. We use AutoCAD for our formwork design and recently MEVA organized a training session for us to use Revit. This way, we are now also able to provide three-dimensional formwork drawings and help visualise how our formwork design will look in reality.
What do you like about working for MEVA?
Sunshine: It’s always good to work for a company who has a lot of exciting and ambitious plans for the future. Working at MEVA is the best experience because it has nice work culture, allows the freedom to work independently, provides good support for each other and people feel appreciated for their efforts. You are safe, secure and the company provides a wide range of benefits.
Rochelle: I like that we have dynamic and challenging work. There’s continuous room for learning. Our work environment is remarkable – we exemplify teamwork. We’re able to do our work efficiently and solve problems with ease.
What advice would you give to another woman looking to work in construction?
Sunshine: Gender doesn’t really matter, as long as you’re easy to work with and can mingle easily. But, in general it’s nice to see more women in construction and I encourage those women to have a strong work ethic, good communication skills, and the ability to multitask and to solve problems under pressure. If you have the courage and determination to fulfil your potential, you will be successful in your job.
Rochelle: If it’s something you want to pursue, then do it. Embrace the challenge of working in a male-dominated profession. Be confident in your abilities and know that you can contribute so much to the industry. Work hard. Be open-minded. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t know something. Seeing the end product gives me such a sense of fulfilment when I see those buildings, knowing I was part of the building process.
How can someone be successful in a construction role?
Sunshine: Be a good team member: honour your commitments, face challenges, support and respect each other. You will not grow in your career if you are not challenged. Take risk and most importantly, gain confidence through your hard work and experience and strengthen your belief that you will be successful and bring value in the future.
Rochelle: Be like a sponge. Absorb and learn as much as you can from your colleagues and superiors. The knowledge that you will gain from them will help you grow in your profession.
About the Engineers
Rochelle was born in the Philippines but moved to the United Arab Emirates to join her parents who were already resident here following her graduation from university. She joined MEVA in April 2016 as a Junior Engineer.
Sunshine is also from the Philippines and joined Meva Gulf as a Junior Engineer in July 2018 after holding several positions in her home country. Sunshine met and married her partner here in Dubai and will be taking maternity leave later this year prior to then returning to work following the arrival of her first child.
Both ladies hold a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree and are experienced and valued staff members who proudly represent 40% of the MEVA Gulf Design Office Team. Rochelle and Sunshine have also both spent time in Haiterbach, Germany as part of their initial induction and training.