Can you share a bit about your background and journey into the scaffolding industry, and how you became a Designer/Drafter?
After finishing my Masters in Architecture, I moved to New Zealand from the UK. The borders closed shortly after my arrival and by the time lockdown ended, I knew I wanted to stay and decided to return to working in the construction industry. I joined Camelspace as a Designer/Drafter in 2021.
What attracted you to a career in this industry?
I love seeing the designs realised. Additionally, through 3D modelling, I am able to identify potential issues and address them before anything goes to site.
Can you describe a typical day or week in your life as a Designer/Drafter?
Sometimes, the client knows exactly what they want and it is a simple question of producing a drawing. Other times, I will receive a brief or set of floor plans. If it’s for a building, I’ll model the building, design the layout of the scaffold and 3D model it in a program that generates a gear list. I’ll then render images and deliver detailed, dimensioned drawings for the client to visualise and the labourers to use on site.
What are some stand-out career highlights?
The first few times I saw the scaffold “in real life” – having only designed from in front a computer screen, I was naively amazed by the scale of the projects! Also, anytime I get to attend an event that I’ve done work for – there’s nothing like seeing someone perform on a stage I designed.
Can you share any exciting or challenging moments you've encountered?
Pretty much my first few months of being in this role – we had a lockdown about 4 weeks after I started, so working from home with very little scaffold knowledge was a jump in the deep end. I also spent a lot of time watching YouTube tutorials on how to use the design software.
What skills or qualities have helped you succeed?
My architectural education has armed me with visualisation and critical thinking skills which have been useful - I can easily understand architectural drawings and hand sketches; and identify and correct potential problems.
How has the industry evolved or changed since you began your career, and what advancements or technologies have you found particularly interesting?
I started in the midst of COVID – so I imagine in a similar way construction has changed since then. In terms of technology, I can only really speak to design software and would be interested in exploring other options for realistic rendering for pitching to clientele.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The variety of projects I get to work on.
What do you think sets the scaffolding industry apart from other construction-related fields?
I’ve found that the main difference is that architecture generally intends to be permanent and is highly design driven for human experience and interaction, with focus on the end-product. Scaffolding is a temporary structure by nature that is not always intended to be flashy but is still vital to the overall process.
Are there any misconceptions about the scaffolding industry that you would like to address or debunk?
It’s not just for men.
Where do you see the industry in the future?
I would love to see more women in the industry.
What important advice or lessons have you learned while in this industry?
That the potential for scaffold is infinite. Despite its modular and rectilinear nature, something quite beautiful can be created.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in scaffolding or those who are just starting out in the industry?
Ask questions – I’m surrounded by people who know a lot more than me on the practical side of things and their knowledge is invaluable to informing my design work.
What do you like to do outside of work, and do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work that have helped you develop professionally?
I have been teaching languages and dance for around 15 years. This has helped me identify the best methods for me to learn, and how other people might learn. It has meant I can grasp new concepts quickly which was incredibly important coming into a new industry.
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