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23rd July 2018 - Press Release

Talented female engineer returns to Dover

VSBW, a joint venture between VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster, that is delivering the first stage of the Port of Dover' prestigious Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development, is bucking the national trend in terms of the number of females working on-site - currently running at 16% of the workforce.

One of those women in question is Paula Cruttenden, a project manager with VolkerStevin.

Paula is in fact a local girl, born in the area and educated at St Edmunds Catholic School in Dover before leaving to complete a BTech in Building and Construction studies in Folkestone. Paula then went on to university in London – Queen Mary and Westfield, where she attained her degree in Civil Engineering and Project Management.

After graduation, Paula openly admits: “I knew what I wanted to do with my career, but I honestly didn’t know how to get into the industry”, so she decided to go freelance with the ultimate goal of working her way up through the ranks in engineering.

Paula has worked on a variety of high profile projects in different industries, including marine, railway and building projects such as the iconic Shard building in London, Battersea power station and even the Olympics.

“I started my career as a setting out engineer, was then promoted to senior engineer and then site manager. I then worked my way up to construction manager and project manager”, says Paula.

“Being freelance has given me a great deal of flexibility to try out new experiences and develop my knowledge and expertise. Becoming Chartered has never been high on my radar and fortunately in my varied 21 year career has never been a requirement.”

When asked if Paula liked being ‘back home’, she said: “It is strange to only have a 25 minute commute to work at the moment and to know the area in which I am working, but a real pleasure too.”

As a working mother with a young son, Paula is very keen to not only ensure a good work/life balance, but also to demonstrate being a good role model for her son for the future.

Paula also said: “I am immensely proud and privileged to be working with an outstanding team who have gone the extra mile in delivering this challenging programme, and who are committed to maintaining the highest standards while ensuring the work is completed on time.

“The DWDR development is definitely close to my heart and is a pleasure to work on, as it is not only a prestigious and innovative project in terms of engineering and delivery, but it will also have a lasting legacy for my home town.”


Notes to editors


  1. Port of Dover

The Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) is a one-off opportunity for the regeneration of Dover, bringing new investment into the area.  With UK Government planning approval and supported by a mix of private finance and European Union grant funding, DWDR will deliver:

  • Relocation and further development of the cargo business with a new cargo terminal and distribution centre;
  • Creation of greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic;
  • A transformed waterfront to ultimately attract a host of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants with Dover's unique backdrop of the harbour, cliffs and castle; and
  • Much needed quality employment opportunities for local people.


DWDR scored ‘Excellent’ for the CEEQUAL Whole Team Interim Award - the evidence-based sustainability assessment, rating and awards scheme that promotes the achievement of high environmental and social performance in civil engineering, infrastructure, landscaping and public realm projects.



  1. VSBW

VSBW is a joint venture between VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster to deliver the marine structures and bridge contract for the Port of Dover’s flagship Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) development.

With a contract value of £115m, this construction stage will include the design and build of two new berths including quay walls and land reclamation, a new marina pier, the marina curve, navigation channel and new lock gates, Bascule Bridge and capital dredging work.


  1. Image

Left to Right: Rory Sutton - VSBW Apprentice Engineer, Paula Cruttenden – VSBW Piling & Demolition Project Manager, Harry Maybank – VSBW Site Engineer and James Scott-Stewart – VSBW Senior Engineer

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