Welcome to our newest blog feature – Profile. Here we hope to feature some of the faces you’ll see around Harvest City Church and dig a bit deeper into who they are and how they live for Christ in their daily lives. First up: Tamara!
Name: Tamara Longwe
Occupation: Engineering PhD student at Loughborough University
How did you decide to get into the construction industry?
Solving problems – especially design related issues – has always been something that has interested me, and I like drawing and making things. I initially went to Loughborough Uni because of the sport and because I wanted to stay in Leicestershire. They have a good civil and built environment department, so the decision was a no-brainer. I can’t say I stumbled into construction because my older cousin was already in the construction industry and she suggested that I look at the different jobs that are required. Once I got reading into the different aspects that make up construction I never looked back. It just seemed like the right fit for me at the time I was applying for uni, and little did I know that I would actually grow to have a real passion for construction.
What has been your biggest professional challenge?
Not letting people hinder my dreams and not settling. When I am in the working environment I have to constantly remind myself that God has a plan for my life and that I shouldn’t limit what He is able to do through me. People just have a way with words and if you pay them attention and don’t keep on guard they can be really disheartening. It’s all about focusing on the bigger picture.
Do you find it difficult being in a traditionally male-dominated industry?
I grew up in an all-male household, which I guess prepared me for the environment! So no, I don’t find it difficult. I’m comfortable in those surroundings. I don’t feel like I have to prove a point because I’m female, I just do the best job that only I can do.
What would you say to anyone thinking about going into construction, especially women?
There are so many aspects to construction and everyone has something that only they can offer. Construction projects are a team effort and each member has something different to bring to the table. Construction is far-reaching and you get to work on projects that change not just the physical landscape but also peoples’ lives. We spend a large majority of our time in buildings and knowing that you’ve worked on a project that’s changed someone’s environment for the better is tremendously rewarding. Like any other field of work, you need to have a passion for the things you do and also a determination to challenge yourself. There are so many opportunities available if only you would trust God and the journey he is taking you on.
Lastly, do you find it difficult practising your faith within your industry?
In my career so far I have found it easy. What I’ve learnt is that as long as you make it clear from the beginning what your faith is and actually live according to that, you will be fine and you will be surprised just how people treat you when they know that what you’re saying is genuine. As a minority in the industry, there is already an interest in what females can bring to the table and I guess that has helped me with being able to express my faith freely.