• ACCIONA subsidiary, Geotechnical Engineering, has been engaged by Vaughan Constructions as a specialist subcontractor to undertake the piling and excavation works for a new building with a basement at Loreto Mandeville Hall, an independent school for girls in Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria. Why this particular project is significant is because we’re delivering it with a (minimum) 50:50 gender diverse workforce.
  • This makes Project Loreto a testing ground project for ACCIONA, relatively small in size but with the potential for immense impact.

Whilst Geotech already maintains a significant female frontline workforce, the 50:50 diversity requirement meant we had to both grow the female workforce and get skilled operators in, which saw us launch a targeted advertising campaign to find experienced women to become an integral part of our piling crew. Our Marketing team developed a Comms Plan that saw us advertise on both traditional (i.e. LinkedIn, Seek) and non-traditional (i.e. Instagram, Facebook, Women in Trades careers page) platforms. The successful campaign saw us hire a Crane Operator with 25+ years’ experience, Leading Hand, Excavator Operator and Dogman/Spotter to finalise our crew.

Though the project is scheduled to run for 6 months, the females that we’ve hired have been offered ongoing employment and we will retain and develop them after the project has completed.

Our initial team of a Supervisor, Leading Hand, Excavator Operator, Labourer and Engineer have been on site since 2 February, with piling works commencing on 25 February.

In the lead up to the bulk of our team arriving onsite, we partnered with Dattner Group and Tradeswomen Australia to provide the following project inductions:

  • A full day workshop, including an inclusion survey for the life of the project; unconscious bias, active listening and engagement styles training; action planning and setting project KPIs;
  • Mentoring for an ACCIONA key female leader;
  • Pulse survey; and
  • Inclusive site signage (e.g. Men And Women Working signs).

This project provides an excellent learning opportunity for women looking to join the industry (e.g. the girls attending Loreto) and see what being in construction entails. Loreto students will partake in a series of tailored workshops run by qualified and experienced personnel, who will provide them with visibility of the project’s life – from design and engineering through to delivery. The workshops will also link theory to practice by giving the girls an opportunity to step on site and see firsthand the diverse careers the construction industry has to offer.

We know that a well-run, well-marketed project will pay dividends when it comes to attracting and retaining key talent (both men and women), with a goal to change the construction landscape forever.


The genesis of this project dates back to 2018 and the launch of our “You’re Welcome” campaign, when we set ourselves the challenge of achieving a 20% female blue-collar workforce by the end of 2020.

That campaign and Project Loreto will help develop a cultural blueprint that supports men and women working and leading in a gender-balanced environment, to form the basis of future construction projects and become business-as-usual.