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Working lives Andri Hazouvari

Civil engineer Andri Hazouvari moved from the UK to Cyprus to get her career back on track after taking time out to be a mum.

After the birth of her third child, Andri Hazouvari was keen to resume her career as a civil engineer in the UK. But the expense of childcare in Britain meant she could only afford to return to work part-time, she says.

'I was very worried, and even wrote a letter to NCE to see if anybody else had a life like mine and had managed to go out and progress their careers.'

Hazouvari resolved her childcare conundrum by returning to her native Cyprus where she was offered a post as deputy project manager on construction of the major Kannaviou Dam (see feature, page 22). Whether it illustrates the very different kinds of opportunities offered in Cyprus or simply Hazouvari's luck, she now works alongside her husband Andrew Waller, who is the project's commercial manager.

It is all a far cry from the frustration she felt in Britain as her working life stalled.

'I thought about doing something else, but this is what I want to do.'

Although she believes strongly in the efficacy of sheer will power - 'where there's a will there's a way' - Hazouvari accepts that a return to full time work as a civil engineer would not have been easy in the UK.

Hazouvari moved to Britain to study A levels in London, going on to do a degree in civil engineering at University College London, where she met her husband of 22 years.

The pair both worked for consultant Mouchel (now Mouchel Parkman), although not as closely as on their current project.

'Working with Andy is very good, ' she says. 'We make a good, strong team. We aren't in each other's pockets the whole time but we can help each other out.

'I have had a lot of support from my husband. There are a lot of women doing well in engineering, but their careers are often seen as secondary to those of their husbands.'

In Cyprus, by contrast, a large programme of major infrastructure work is creating demand for experienced civil engineers that transcends gender, and takes little issue with deviations from the career path.

Combine this with lower living costs and Hazouvari says the country offers women a degree of opportunity that cannot be matched in the UK.

Hazouvari says she misses visiting the ballet in London and attending ICE events, and acknowledges the value of her working experience in Britain.

But despite this, and her husband's longing for a decent pint of bitter, the family is not planning a return in the near future.

'I'm doing exactly what I want to do here. The only thing that would take me back to England would be a very exciting job. But who is constructing a dam in England?'

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