PD Connect opens doors to professional support and development

October 6, 2021 | General

Dedicated to women, PD Connect has grown to become Paynter Dixon’s flagship program for professional development with benefits for all employees.

Still in the early days of an apprenticeship in carpentry, Hannah Ipsen (pictured above) recently started working with Paynter Dixon.

“It has been pretty hectic but I love watching all the activities on site,” says the former personal trainer. “We have a big concrete pour today which is exciting, and there’s a lot to know about safety. I’m not just learning about carpentry which is fine because I want to explore options.”

Raised on the Central Coast, the avid surfer has moved to Sydney to pursue a career in construction. Hopefully, more young women like Hannah will enter the male-dominated industry.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2020, women represent just 12.7% of the construction workforce. And the CSQ 2018 Women in Construction Survey found that only 3 per cent of tradespeople roles are filled by women.

Empowered networking

A Business Development Manager with Paynter Dixon at the time, Marija Petrovska had become frustrated with attending industry networking events where women were few and far between. Speaking with colleagues in the business, the trained interior designer decided to trial a dedicated forum for women.

“We started out modestly with a group of female employees coming together for lunch once a month,” recalls Marija.

“We would discuss a range of topics and invite guest speakers. But we quickly saw the scope to grow – network, gain support, foster connections between ourselves, the business and wider industry. Our ideas and activities grew to the point where we saw benefit in establishing a formal program.”

Marija worked with Paynter Dixon’s People and Culture team to expand the concept in a proposal put before the Board. The proposal was met with enthusiasm and PD Connect became a funded program.

Moving forward, planned activities will include events with guest speakers, group coaching and mentoring opportunities, training sessions, and membership of professional bodies to empower career development.

The road ahead

Most recently, Paynter Dixon secured complimentary annual membership to Women in Design and Construction (WIDAC) for all female employees. WIDAC events and resources provide pathways to overcoming adversity and taking the next professional step, from industry newcomers to executive leaders.

Stephanie Hynes Burdick, Group Manager of People and Culture for Paynter Dixon, says PD Connect is now ideally positioned as a driver of diversity and inclusion.

“Women are at the core of PD Connect, but the program now has the means to drive outcomes across the business and beyond,” says Stephanie. “It’s about making sure all employees have access to support, career development, and a share of the voice on issues that matter.”

For Hannah, the horizon is coming into focus. “I’m still not a hundred per cent sure where the road will go, but the people here all pitch in together and that makes a difference too.”