by Rachel Strauss, WIB Regional Lead VIC, Australia and BIM Manager at bimco

After a long absence in face-to-face events around most of Australia since early 2020, finally an opportunity presented itself at the DesignBUILD Expo which took place from Tuesday 10 to Thursday 12 May at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC). 

WIB hosted an event in partnership with Digital Construction Week Australia as a panel discussion on the topic, Women in BIM: A panel discussing the importance of Diversity, future skills and knowledge for the Built Environment

The panel was chaired by WIB Global Chair Rebecca De Cicco (Principal-Digital Enablement, Aurecon) with panelists Rachel Strauss (BIM Manager, bimco/WIB Regional Lead), Amalia Athanassopoulos (Executive Director, Resolve Insight) and Shannon Watson (BIM Manager, Silver Thomas Hanley) who shared their opinions and own experiences being in the BIM/Digital Engineering industry.

The engaging discussions had provided thoughts on the challenges faced in the industry particularly on topics in relation to knowledge gaps; upskilling in BIM/DE; appeal to school students and encourage more women to enter careers in the field.  Some key items that were discussed amongst the panel:  

  • Particularly for the younger generation there is the need to promote BIM/DE roles in the industry as many do not know the option exists.  Although the industry is relatively new, inclusion of specific programs through secondary schooling will assist.
  • There is a misconception of Digital Engineering/BIM of being software and technology focused however it is important to have the knowledge of project lifecycles and management and apply these.
  • Addressing knowledge gaps is super important as there is so much to know and particularly with new ideas and improved processes constantly developed, many learn things on the fly.  At the same time it is exciting to see progress on the way the field is shaping.

In addition to the panel session, an informal networking event was conducted shortly afterwards.  Essentially this was a continuation of some of the conversations had from the panel in a more casual approach as well as the bonus of getting to know more about each other’s individual career journeys and meeting the new up-and-comers.  With positive feedback from the attendees we are all looking forward to catching up again at the next WIB event.