Advocating for women in the industry

Oct 13, 2023

M. Tucker & Sons is a name to remember when it comes to celebrating female employees and providing them with a safe and fulfilling work environment. Trenchless Australasia had a chat with the star female employees at M. Tucker & Sons.

Accounts Manager at M. Tucker & Sons Kate Tucker reinforced this message. “M. Tucker & Sons doesn’t like to segregate only women and their achievements, if a staff member is doing a great job we like to praise them for their achievements, offer training to better their skills, and acknowledge their hard work,” she said. Today, Kate is an inherent part of the business, along with co-founders Brendan and Darren Tucker. “I started at M. Tucker & Sons in 2011, helping out around the office to help with filling,” she said. “I started full time in 2012 when the company started expanding into the trenchless industry where at the time we had eight to 10 staff in total.

Since then, Kate said Brendan and Darren have continued to grow the company with now employing 40 staff. For Kate, the added value of being a woman at M. Tucker & Sons is that she doesn’t notice any difference between how female and male employees are treated.

“We have always hired who is the best fit for the role, not gender specific,” she said. “We are pretty lucky here at M. Tucker & Sons: all staff are very inclusive.” To other women looking to give the trenchless industry a go, Kate has a piece of advice. “Give it a go, if it interests you there is no harming in trying it out, if you have a passion for it, you will go far in the industry.” M.Tucker & Sons CCTV Operator Jayde Peake couldn’t agree more when it comes to equality at the company. She said M. Tucker & Sons makes being a woman in a male-dominated field easy to work in and the company makes women feel welcomed. “They always keep the women involved in decision making and in general,” she said.

For Jayde, it’s a unique trait of the company. “A lot of places would much rather have males doing the work we do but at M. Tucker & Sons they give you an equal opportunity to grow in the industry in the same way the males do.” Jayde started working in traffic control, but she wanted to be involved and more hands on. Knowing people in the industry, Jayde applied to M. Tucker & Sons where they gave her an opportunity to lead to where she is today. “I am proud of moving from traffic control to CCTV where I can use my knowledge and learn more,” she said.

“Don’t let the ‘male-dominated industry’ scare you. Women can do just as much as men can. “Have belief in yourself and you’ll achieve what you want.” M.Tucker & Sons Health, Safety and Environment Coordinator Steph Halligan started working for the company in 2015 in administration before transitioning into an occupational health and safety role in 2018.

“M. Tucker & Sons have such a good gender ratio and promote gender equality; therefore, I never really notice it as being a male dominated industry. Everyone gets along really well and looks after each other,” she said. Her most memorable achievement is helping the company gain its International Standards Organisation (ISO) certifications in 2020. “This has improved our workforce and given the company many opportunities, including the recent successful completion of a manhole relining contract for Yarra Valley Water,” she said. In her eyes, M. Tucker & Sons promotes women and their achievements daily.

“Women are given the same opportunities and training as the male employees. There are female workers in all divisions – trenchless, civil, wet waste and traffic control – and they are recognised for their achievements alongside the men.” Her advice for women looking into a career in the industry is simple – just do it. “Make sure you work for a company where gender equality is promoted so that you don’t have to fight for it,” she said. “It should be enjoyable, not stressful.” M.Tucker & Sons Waste and Environment Manager Melissa Toifl has had an invaluable impact on where the company is today.

“I came to work at M. Tucker & Sons almost eight years ago at a time when they were seeking to start a waste facility to handle material generated by trenchless and drainage and maintenance works,” she said. “My background in environmental science has allowed me to guide the business through the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) approval process and resulted in M. Tucker & Sons being granted an EPA operating licence to receive waste generated from trenchless and drainage and maintenance works.”

Since then, the environmental solutions division of the business has grown significantly, and Melissa has had the opportunity to be involved with developing and shaping that side of the business. “The company is very supportive of women in the industry. My opinions, advice and ideas are well respected within the business,” she said. “Work achievements are recognised, and I feel like a valuable member of staff. Melissa welcomed the changes the industry has seen over the past few years, especially seeing more women taking on what were previously male dominated roles.

“Don’t be afraid to have a go, learn from others who have been in the industry, take all advice on board and use what you need,” she said. Civil Crew Assistant Ella Taylor couldn’t have found a better place to start her career than at M. Tucker & Sons. “The crew at M. Tucker & Sons create such a family environment always encouraging each other to achieve the highest standards of work possible,” she said.

“The company promotes women and our achievements by treating us as equals, supporting and pushing us to do our best in all our work.” Ella is adamant – If you want to become a trenchless star, don’t think twice. “My advice to any other females looking to join the industry would be go for it,” she said. “There is nothing more rewarding then being a part of a job from start to finish, and seeing how all of your hard work and efforts have helped fix a problem.”

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