"When I tell about Ballast Nedam as an employer, I get strange looks from time to time. Do you do an administrative job?', people ask. I am getting used to talking to others about my work environment. To me, working with mainly men is quite normal. I enjoy it. Sometimes I work at head office for a day, but then I quickly return to the construction site."
Percentages of women in constructionde bouw
As a young girl among the machines
How do you make more women enthusiastic about a career in construction? There are plenty of opportunities, Nienke believes. But you have to start early: "The Ballast Nedam women of the future are still at primary school. The opportunities lie with them. Children think creatively and they are continually amazed. I think that, as the whole sector, we can make them even more excited."
As a little girl, Nienke was already introduced to this field. She played with Lego non-stop and went along with her father to his work in engineering. She laughs: "As a little girl, I would stand among the excavators while a defect was being repaired. I wanted to know everything. It was clear that I would go into the technical field."
From an HR perspective, Willem Turkenburg also sees opportunities. "We see an increasing number of female students in relevant studies. That is why we are confident that more and more young female talents will enter the company. They can, for example, start with an internship, traineeship or junior position. This way, they can possibly move on to management positions, as long as they are interested in doing so themselves, of course."
At the construction site, Nienke looks around. "Yes, I happen to be a woman. But if there had been a man here, we would both have done the job equally well. Besides, female qualities of character can come in handy. I notice in the team that I am relatively more empathetic. And I connect with others more often. Those soft skills are a good combination with the tougher qualities of a man. So, if you ask me again whether women can do this work just as well as men, I will say yes again - absolutely."