A rising star in global construction

Dhiren Katwa Tuesday 19th May 2020 09:56 EDT

Sabina Tayub lives in Leicester and works as an assistant quantity surveyor with Balfour Beatty, the leading international infrastructure group.  Prior to this role, she was a graduate civil engineer with the same company. I caught up with Sabina, a face of the firm, to find out more about her successes so far.

Sabina’s one claim to fame is being named a rising star in the Guardian UK 300, a comprehensive survey of top graduate employers in the UK as well as that of top emerging talent. In 2018, she was a finalist in the ‘best young women in construction’ category at the European Women in Construction & Engineering Awards. 

Originally from Malawi, which has an under-developed transport system, “I’ve always been interested in how highways and infrastructure can boost an economy,” said Sabina. “I thought that if I had a career in civil engineering I might be able to give something back to Malawi. At university I made up my mind to do as much as I could; my parents had done a lot to get me there. I held down five jobs and voluntary posts and went to China for three weeks on a study programme.” 

Sabina’s current role entails mainly keeping up with subcontractors’ accounts such as valuing completed work and arranging for payments as well as conducting feasibility studies to estimate materials, time and labour costs, preparing, negotiating and analysing costs for tenders and contracts and advising on a range of legal and contractual issues. 

 Sabina, 26, hails from a Muslim ethnic group, Memons, originating from the Indian subcontinent. Traditionally, the Memons have been a mercantile community. But, as the years have passed, they have increasingly diversified into various other professions and are also known for their involvement in philanthropy.

Sabina’s father, Mohammed Tayub, was owner of a construction company and her mother, Nasim Tayub ran a builder merchant store in Malawi.  Both are now retired. She has three brothers, Karim, Aziz and Furkan and two sisters, Maryam and Shaziya. Her mother-tongue is Kutchi and she speaks a bit of Gujarati, language of her ancestors.

Asked about her best ever experience, “Visiting 17 different countries in the last three years whilst holding down a full-time job,” she said. “And I intend to travel more and see more countries. It’s my new favourite hobby. I learnt so much from these experiences and got insight into different cultures which I have always been interested in.”

I put to Sabina if she’d consider entering British Politics, “Actually I would,” she smiled. “I’d be good in politics as I love communicating, meeting new people and putting across my opinions. I’ve always tried to improve my surroundings and environment be that at school, university or now, at work.”

She aspires to work on a project in Malawi. Balfour Beatty has, she said, worked in Rwanda, “so maybe the company will be able to help me achieve this ambition too.”

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