Seeing the growing number of women on construction sites gives Aymara Toro Young a surge of excitement.
Aymara is a project coordinator with Soncin Construction, a company that works on civil infrastructure projects. She’s also a student in the Building Information Modelling (BIM) Management program. In her work with Soncin on the Crosslinx light-rail transit (LRT) project, she’s met women on the job site in a range of roles, including project engineer and project manager, among others.
“I get a sense of yay for women when I see that,” she said. “I still wish there were more women, but I can see it changing.”
Aymara is part of the change she wants for the construction industry. She graduated from the Civil Engineering Technology program in 2020 (her field placement at Soncin led to a full-time job) and moved right into the BIM program while working full-time.
“Hands-on work and being involved in the process of creating something is what led me into construction. And when I learned women are under-represented — that sealed the deal. It’s time to change that. It’s time to show how we as women can also contribute and be an important part of the construction industry.”
Responding to challenges presented by COVID-19
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created many obstacles, Aymara says working full-time and completing a full-time program at the same time would only be possible due to changes implemented since March 2020, namely online learning.
“You have to see the silver linings of it. Even though I miss being at school and face-to-face interaction, completing my courses online has allowed me to both work and study. Thankfully, the classes are always recorded so I can catch up, review, and work on the weekends as well,” she said.
Aymara enrolled in the BIM program to ensure she’s up to date with the latest technologies in her field.
“It’s challenging but you can do it if you really put your mind to it,” she said. “It isn’t ideal, but I have the drive to learn something new. If you have the drive to do it, then you have to put in the work.”
Highly engaged on campus and in the community
Originally from Venezuela, Aymara began volunteering when she first arrived in Toronto to better understand the city and its culture, to improve her English, and to meet people. She’s volunteered (pre-COVID) with TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), the Hot Docs Festival and the Luminato Festival.
At George Brown, Aymara volunteered with the International Centre and as a peer leader. She was also a member of the Dean's Student Ambassador program at the Centre for Construction and Engineering Technologies.
And to gain more hands-on construction experience while in school, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity GTA, where she worked as a crew leader on a project to build 50 townhouses in Scarborough as part of the Pinery Trail project.
Aymara looks forward to using her skills and expertise to promote sustainable practices, technologies and building materials in the industry.
“It’s amazing the innovation and technology we have here in Canada,” she said. “We can do this.”