Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Young female architect building a career in construction

Australian High Commission

Stephanie Korokoro is building her career as a young architect by working on major construction projects supported by the Australian Government in Papua New Guinea.

Stephanie Korokoro on the National Museum and Art Gallery refurbishment construction site in Port Moresby.

A recent architecture graduate, Stephanie is a key member of the Planpac construction management team engaged to undertake refurbishment of the National Museum and Art Gallery (NMAG) in Port Moresby.

“The museum building is of great national significance to Papua New Guineans as it conserves and displays to the world our country’s rich and diverse culture and history,” said Stephanie.

“It has been a unique experience working on a major national identity project, alongside museum staff, designers and a range of specialists in artefact conservation and curation, to meet international museum standards.”

Originally from Bougainville and the eldest of eight children, Stephanie says her parents made sure both girls and boys in her family were given equal access to education, and were encouraged to pursue their passions. 

In 2013, Stephanie obtained a degree in architecture from the University of Technology in Lae following a childhood interest in building design.

“I’ve always enjoyed designing and constructing my own DIY projects,” recalls Stephanie.

“I was inspired to become an architect after attempting to design and build my first cubby house as a child.”

Stephanie scored her first big construction project in 2015 after being with Planpac less than a year. 

Appointed as part of the construction management team on the Arawa Hospital upgrade, she was responsible for overseeing 50 construction workers across the site – predominantly men.

Despite finding the project a challenge in the beginning, she learned how to gain the trust of the men reporting to her after seeking advice from her father.

“Taking my dad’s advice, I started volunteering on site to help the men out with bits and pieces, such as mixing cement for the floor slabs and helping to weld. 

"Eventually the men realised that I was not an outsider and not only there to give out orders, but rather a team player working with them to deliver the project.

“I am also very grateful that I am part of such a supportive team of architects and construction managers, and that Planpac and the Australian Government are big advocates of gender equality.”

As Stephanie gains experience on different construction projects, she is also looking to the future. 

In the next five years, she hopes to register as a licensed architect and pursue a degree in construction management, while helping other women aspiring to work in the same field.

The NMAG refurbishment and Arawa Hospital upgrade projects are supported by the Australian Government in partnership with the Government of Papua New Guinea through the Decentralisation and Citizen Participation and the Bougainville Partnerships respectively.

Both Governments are committed to mainstreaming gender equity and social inclusion across all aspects of Papua New Guinea’s development as reflected in Vision 2050.

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