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Inge Stox

Age: 26, design engineer, Visser & Smit Bouw, Netherlands

This article is also available in: Dutch

Route to the job
After a course in Civil Engineering at the Technical University of Delft, Inge Stox worked at an engineering bureau, where for more than two years she mainly offered advice in earth structures and foundation engineering. Inge joined the ground and foundation engineering department of Visser & Smit Bouw in Papendrecht through an exchange programme between her previous employer and Volker Wessels, of which Visser & Smit Bouw is a subsidiary: "I enjoyed being close to the actual execution so much that I stayed. The hectic nature of the work and the dynamics of it all appeal to me enormously."

Typical day
"In the building industry, nothing is ever the same. Whatever you dream up behind your desk, in practice things always work out differently. And that is exactly what's so challenging!"

Highs and lows
"This company's soil and foundation engineering department is very nice and I have already learnt a lot," says Inge. "The wide diversity of projects appeals to me a lot. Being a woman in the building sector sets you apart, which has both benefits and drawbacks: "During work placement from the university, I participated in the building of the Schiphol railway tunnel. I wanted to do everything - including fixing steel. I really had to overcome a barrier there: being a woman, and in particular one from the Technical University. Frequently, she says, "university students appear to have a certain attitude that is not always appreciated on the work floor."

Ambitions
"I have often asked colleagues to be themselves and for instance not to change the way they talk when I am present, because I'm a woman. That appears to be a utopian dream. A woman on a building site is an exception, and she is automatically noticed."

Advice
"I have experienced how important it is in the design phase to consult other departments, such as calculation, execution, work planning and procurement. Cost awareness in the design phase is crucial. Eventually, the important thing is that you supply high-quality work at the lowest cost and in the shortest possible time."