Nicola Rampersad is one of Blackrock Expert Services’ trailblazing associate directors with over thirteen years of experience as a chartered quantity surveyor. Her experience covers a broad range of industry sectors including retail, residential, mixed-use, leisure, education, healthcare, rail and infrastructure projects. She has delivered commercial and claim management for a broad range of complex projects and specialises in the provision of quantum expert services. She has assisted appointed experts on large construction disputes including a luxury hotel in Kazakhstan; an offshore oil pipeline in the Middle East; a data centre in Ireland; an international airport and Metro Stations in the Middle East. On International Women’s Day 2021, we talk to Nicola about the trials and tribulations of working as a young woman in a male-dominated industry.

What does this year’s International Women’s Day theme #ChooseToChallenge mean to you?

It means we should celebrate the tremendous efforts by women around the world in shaping a more equal future. We should never stop challenging ourselves and others. We should keep calling out inequality, bias and stereotypes. It is the key to further progress in achieving gender equality in the workplace and in our society.

What are you most proud of doing?

I am very proud of the journey I have embarked on since I left my home country, family, and friends to study in the UK and pursue a career in the male-dominated construction industry. I am proud of my academic and professional accomplishments and the resilience I have built and demonstrated in the process.

How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in construction?

We should start by educating children in primary schools about the benefits and opportunities in a construction career and ensure that it appeals to the best and brightest regardless of gender. Whether through school visits or interactive career days, we should demonstrate the many different career options available – from quantity surveyors, to site managers and electricians.

We do need to change the perception of the industry as a “male” one by inviting female role models, who have excelled in their field and lead by example. Having someone to aspire to is all you need to light that spark and inspire action.

Construction companies also need to spend more time ensuring positive messages are sent out, by celebrating and drawing attention to the achievements of women and the exciting things they are doing within the industry.

How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?

Very important. We should encourage, support, and recognise the abilities and achievements of each other. We should talk about our experiences through forums and support networks. It is important to have role models and inspirational figures that we identify with.

What is the best piece of advice you have received?

I do not think that I can choose just one piece of advice. Here are three, which have really resonated with me over the years:

You can be whatever you want to be.

Let others judge you by the work you do, not by who you are.

Treat others as you want to be treated.

How important do you think diversity and inclusion is to the success of Blackrock Expert Services Group?

Extremely important. The true strength of a global company is its diversity and inclusivity. Equitable employers outpace their competitors in innovation and productivity by respecting the unique needs, perspectives and potential of all their team members. As a result, diverse and inclusive workplaces like Blackrock Expert Services Group earn deeper trust and more commitment from their staff.